Freedom by Jonathan FranzenFreedom by Jonathan Franzensticker-burst


byJonathan Franzen

Hardcover | August 23, 2010

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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 neighbour 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 -- outré 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 neighbour," an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street’s attentive eyes?

In his first novel sinceThe 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 ofFreedom's intensely realized 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.

JONATHAN FRANZEN is the author of four novels,The Twenty-Seventh City,Strong Motion,The Corrections, winner of the 2001 National Book Award for Fiction, andFreedom; a collection of non-fiction,How to Be Alone; andThe Discomfort Zone, a memoir. He has been named one of theGranta20 Best Novelists Under 40 and is a frequent contributor to...
Title:FreedomFormat:HardcoverDimensions:576 pages, 9.5 × 6.38 × 1.83 inPublished:August 23, 2010Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers LtdLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1554688833

ISBN - 13:9781554688838

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it from Beginning to End- No Corrections! Loved it. I read "The Corrections" and liked it...This was, in my opinion, much, much better. Lighter, yet deeper in a way. Characters were complex without being cryptic. Writing was very well done, which wasn't surprising. Overall, I avoided finishing the book, which is a good sign. Finishing a good book is like loosing a good friend. Happy to have known them, but sad when they are gone...Better off any way you look at it.
Date published: 2014-01-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not for me I did not like this book at all and was very disappointed. Took me forever to finish since I refuse to leave a book that I have started, a waste of precious reading time for me!
Date published: 2013-02-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I want Freedom...from this book Like previous reviewers have mentioned, I was looking forward to reading this book, based on having read The Corrections and all the hype that this book was getting. So I've spent the past 3 weeks trying to like this book, reading a few pages each day, hoping that something would start happening that would peak my interest. But nothing has. The story doesn't seem to be going anywhere, merely describing the characters relationships and events in their lives. Sure, that's pretty much what a book generally is, but when there's no point to telling these stories, I lose interest pretty quickly. I managed to get half way through, and even though I hate giving up on a book, I just can't read it anymore. Too bad I bought this book at a foreign airport, and not chapters, because I would be returning it ASAP.
Date published: 2011-11-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from EMBARASSINGLY BAD I cannot believe "Heather" read this book and picked it herself. It seems like five plots interwoven and none completed. Characterization is poor, and the "psychology" of it does not mesh for the characters. I only finished it, slogged through it rather, because our book club chose it. It received poor reviews from all in our club. Paripetetic is a word I would choose. And, it is hard to belive all those bad reviews add up to "three stars"!
Date published: 2011-10-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Blah After a lot of Jonathan Franzen media hype, I picked up both Freedom and The Corrections. I feel that I have, yet again, been lead down the garden path. I should have known better. I did not enjoy either of the books, but this one was the harder of the two for me to finish. J.F.'s use of words, and his ability to write are not in question for me. You can see and feel his brilliance. I had a hard time believing and having empathy for just how flawed his characters and their lives are. Sorry to those who loved it, I hate reading that someone didn't love a book I did, but I am done with this author
Date published: 2011-10-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Couldn't Finish I was really looking forward to reading this book as Oprah described it as "something you've never read before"...I think I got up to page 170 before I completely gave up. Its so typical...the cheating spouse, the spouse who is a good spouse in every way but not sexually attractive...blah blah blah. Even the writing style was boring. I do not like to give up on a book, but this one was one I just couldn't get into.
Date published: 2011-07-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Liked not Loved I liked this book. What I call a "borrower" not a "buyer". I really do not get all the praise though: Oprah, Heather's Pick etc. I don't know if it is an age thing? (those 2 women are very close in age). If you have other books on your must read list, then start with them first.
Date published: 2011-05-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Confusing I tried numerous times to get lost in this book, but finally gave up and returned it to chapters. Usually, any of Heather's picks are a fantastic read, however this one eluded me.
Date published: 2011-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unforgettable read! I'm glad I didn't read the reviews of Freedom on this site before reading this book ... it may have dissuaded me and that would have been a tremendous loss. I absolutely LOVED this book! I am in awe of writers who can transport their readers into the body and minds and souls of the characters so that it feels as though we are having a 3 dimensional experience of sorts ... living out another life (or two or three) for awhile ...the unexpected ending was an absolute gem.
Date published: 2011-02-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Rich in depth! A great read... it took a few chapters to get into it, but the depth of character was fascinating. Pages would go by and you would know a character as if you had known him for decades. I found it more interesting than Franzen's "corrections". Such a real piece of work that couldn't more accurately depict such contrasting personalities.
Date published: 2011-01-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Struggling to finish I'm about half way through Freedom and am having a hard time finishing it. The characters are "real" seeming though, so if you like a read that makes your own semi-messed up family seem normal than this is the book for you! I find the masturbation description of the teenage boy annoying and repetitive. Boys will be boys, I get it...get on with the story. This is my first Heathers pick read that I did not enjoy! It's not horrible, and I will finish it, but I'm sure my reaction at the end will be "who cares".
Date published: 2011-01-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Tough to get through I'm really trying to finish this book but it is slow and somewhat predictable. I think this will be the first Heather's pick that I'll be returning.
Date published: 2011-01-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Couldn't finish it Rarely do I give up on a book but I just couldn't get through this one. SInce it's Heather's pick I've been searching for the receipt to hopefully take it back.
Date published: 2010-12-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing I bought this book and was very excited to read it. After reading several reviews I was anticipating it to be an excellent read. I think I expected to much. I found that I quickly became bored and it was a struggle for me to pick up the book to finish it. I kept reading hoping that at some point it would grab me and pull me in but i was gravely disappointed.
Date published: 2010-12-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I kept waiting and hoping I too can't understand the hype on this one. I did finish hoping it would redeem itself, but alas it just didn't happen. Like some other literary flavours of the month, I'm sure that there was some profound symbolism, and I admit the writing was excellent...the characters were just so darn unlikeable and neurotic.
Date published: 2010-12-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Yuck Slow and not engaging at all. Still can't get all the way through it.
Date published: 2010-11-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A book about neurotic neighbours What is all the fuss about this book? I got about 20 pages into it and not sure I can finish it. So far, all I can tell you is that this book is about some neurotic people who are also nosy neighbours. Not sure why it's called "Freedom" - it sounds like the characters are shackled to these pathetic lives where they gossip about each other.
Date published: 2010-11-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A Masterpiece?...I think not! Please don't believe the hype that has sucked so many of us in. I feel compelled here to add a voice of caution. I begin with the unremarkable cast of characters who are totally one dimensional and unbelievable. The dialogue which I would defy anyone to suggest is how parents, lovers, children speak to each other. The rambling story line that takes us from cycles of utter boredom (the better part of the book) to some nuggets of excitement (too few to make the read enjoyable). I avoid the plot review as many times we feel compelled to summarize... Having plugged through the entire book, I ask myself, Is there something I'm missing here? I invested a great deal of time and effort in this book and unfortunately for me the effort did not prove worthwhile in the end.
Date published: 2010-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A story with many paths, each more interesting than the last. After beginning this book, i was soon enthralled with the story of Patty, as she was chased by her psycho/friendly roomy, and competed in college basketball. Just as things got crazy interesting, the plot shifted to her writing her journal a few years later. And once I was into that plot, it shifted again, this time to her son. Eventually it also shifts to the point of view of her husband, and her husbands' friend. It is not confusing at all, as the stories are all so intertwined, but it is wonderful to read the main story from the point of view of different people. The book rarely has two people discussing/living out one given time period. it might go for 3 years from one of their points of view, and then someone else takes over for the next 6 months. I won't give away any plot. You can get some of it off the back; but let me simply say, this book is an excellent read. I could not put it down until it was done, and I have since passed it on to someone else who has enjoyed it as much as me. Cheers!
Date published: 2010-10-05

Editorial Reviews

?Franzen has an uncanny knack for capturing the torturously self-justifying rhetoric and trendy slang of educated Gen Xers rebelling against their suburban childhoods by seeking ?authenticity? in the grungy core of the American city. The details of time and place and attitude are so sharp as to induce frequent wincing.? - Toronto Star ()