NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy book of the year -- read it!, January 6, 2011
This review is from: Freedom (Audio CD)
DO believe the hype. This was a very good book about a family -- yes a dysfunctional family in some ways -- but is what I think is a fairly astute picture of a husband, wife, son, and daughter facing and trying to deal with the changes that life and circumstance put in front of them. Rather than write a synopsis of the plot, I would rather the reader consider this merely a portrait of a Midwestern middle class family - no, not a typical family per se, but one that could live next door to you.

Franzen's prose is stark. He writes with a pen as sharp as a scalpel sometimes revealing the inner workings of the mind that perhaps are normally kept hidden -- even from ourselves. I liked his other book, The Corrections: A Novel, as well. He has a biting sarcasm and a wry sense of humor that I find incredible and his perceptions about life are razor edged. I know he's not for everyone. He has a way of writing and putting out there the things you don't ever want to think or say and I believe he makes many very uncomfortable. I think he's brilliant.

I am not usually a person who prefers an audiobook to a paper book, but I quickly became engrossed in the story. The reader, David LeDoux, did male voices extremely well. Unfortunately his rendering of the voice of Lalitha got on my nerves! His accent made her unlikeable and she sounded rather simpering which was the opposite of what I believe that Franzen intended that character to be. Other than that annoyance, the voice, despite the changing points of view, was easy to follow and I thought he delivered them believable and entirely human.

The only thing I really didn't like that much about the way the story was told was the way the author jumped back and forth between characters and with sequence. I'm a reader who prefers sequential narrative; nevertheless I found the novel deeply satisfying and one that many of us who struggle with obstacles and unexpected hurdles can understand.

All things considered, I highly recommend this book.

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