Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul--the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter--environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man--she was doing her small part to build a better world.
But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz--outre rocker and Walter's college best friend and rival--still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become "a very different kind of neighbor," an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street's attentive eyes?
In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom's characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.
- New York Times Notable Books of the Year
Showing 1-10 of the 24 most recent reviews
1 . Ponderous and painful
Posted November 27, 2012 by David V , Palo AltoI agree with the other commentators that this book was a painful and ponderous read. By half way through I did not care about any of the characters or what happened to them. How this work was so highly rated is beyond me.
2 . Excellent novel
Posted March 18, 2011 by SDBPEARL , Pointe-ClaireIf you've read the Corrections, you know what you're getting in this novel.. This is another family saga, in this case the Berglund family. Like any family, no one is perfect. Characters age, cause each other pain and discomfort, and life goes on.
The storyline covers about 30 years of their life. The storyline and it's topics make it obvious the author is a liberal democrat. I use this description because it becomes evident that a conservative Republican would hate this book. The author uses his characters to expound on the war in Iraq, wildlife conservation, the hypocrasy of politics, the abuse of natural resources. A Republican would hate this novel.
3 . Curious
Posted February 02, 2011 by David , PensacolaI'm exceptionally curious about how anyone could actually enjoy reading this pitiful american saga and how it got any decent reviews at all, much less a bestseller rating.
I slogged through this 500 page nothing just to try to recoup a bit of the money I spent and would have been better entertained - and a bit more educated - reading an old Collier's encyclopedia. I could continue trying to be flippant about this book, but then I'd be wasting more of my time on it than I already have. Nuff said.
4 . Fantastic
Posted January 18, 2011 by marcia stauber , palm beach gardens floridaI could not put the book down. Read it in 2 days. The story was insightful and I did not find it boring. Perhaps because I come from the generation that the author was writing about it held more meaning to me than to other reades but in all I found the book excellent and worth the praise that it has been given.
5 . Highly Recommended
Posted January 15, 2011 by Paula , HoustonI have not finished this book yet but I have to say it has been great! I enjoy the author's style, the characters, and the wonderful storyline. The writer has a special way of showing each person's perspective allowing the reader to connect with every angle of the spiderweb tale. Please read! You won't regret it.
6 . Not all it's hyped up to be
Posted January 10, 2011 by BM , VermontI read all the reviews and thought this would be a really great read...I was disappointed to say the least...I kept thinking it would get better as it went along and then when I was too far into it I had to read the rest to see how it ended...not totally boring but real close...I thought I could have spent my time better on a more exciting or catching book...guess it's just like the movies, you can't go by all the hype from the bigwigs as they are the ones trying to sell the movie
7 . Why?
Posted January 02, 2011 by Coreen , Eureka, CAI kept reading and trying to like it - but - it really is awful. Why all the hype and praise?
8 . Painful
Posted December 24, 2010 by BR , Roseville, CAI read the hardback on vacation in Hawaii... Often, vacations are my only chance to read something more than periodicals, and on past trips I have flown through 5 or 6 good ones. I couldn't even finish this book in 7 days of doing nothing but sunning and reading, because it was incredibly boring. I am the type, though, to think that everything/everyone has something beneficial to offer so I stuck it out. In the end, it was like reading 500 pages of setup and 62 pages of actual story. I could have cared less about the characters and could not relate to their situations.
9 . Don't bother....
Posted November 30, 2010 by NL , Cazenovia, NYDon't understand how this book made the best seller list other than Oprah's endorsement. Did not care for the book at all; story rambled....kept hoping for something exciting to happen...for one of them to see the light!!
10 . Fantastic book.
Posted November 21, 2010 by Penny , EdmontonThis was the best book I've read in years. Everything isn't as it seems on the outside. We never know what is going on the inside of people's families as well as even in our own families. Extrodinary work.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
August 01, 2010
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