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Customer Reviews for

Freedom

Average Rating 3
( 2478 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(627)

4 Star

(472)

3 Star

(539)

2 Star

(466)

1 Star

(374)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

44 out of 53 people found this review helpful.

Sad, but still an interesting read

Not as great as The Corrections, but...there is something about Franzen's writing that makes it difficult for me to put it down. This story was so realistic in many ways to my experiences and those of my friends (predominately boomers), as well as our adolescent and you...
Not as great as The Corrections, but...there is something about Franzen's writing that makes it difficult for me to put it down. This story was so realistic in many ways to my experiences and those of my friends (predominately boomers), as well as our adolescent and young adult kids. He really gets family ties and the effects of depression on relationships. I felt like I knew Patty. You feel like you are right there... watching or experiencing everything, especially the effects of 9/11 on everything (I live near DC and he gets everything right about it). I would read him again and again. Recommend for book clubs.

posted by Bookbabe53 on September 15, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

32 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

What'chu talkin 'bout Oprah

Not sure why Oprah picked this book, it was hard to read, I put it down and re-started it five times, I finally finished it, but kind of wished I would not have. Very boring, self serving story about a not so normal family. I would not reccomend this to anyone, sorry...
Not sure why Oprah picked this book, it was hard to read, I put it down and re-started it five times, I finally finished it, but kind of wished I would not have. Very boring, self serving story about a not so normal family. I would not reccomend this to anyone, sorry Oprah. If you are looking for a good read, try Unconditional. It is well written story, with well developed characters. The plot twist and ending will certainly surprise you, and I guarantee that you wont put it down until you reach the end.

posted by Tammy01 on September 24, 2010

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  • Posted October 3, 2010

    not recommended

    How did this make it to Oprah's list. The sample looked good, so I bought it. Up until about page 137 it is fine, I was really relating to the characters, then it drones on and on with the writer expressing his thoughts. The spell is broken . I do not think will finish this one,

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    horrible!!!

    Another bad oprah pick, this book was boring............

    12 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2010

    What a Letdown

    I really wanted to like this novel, and I guess I can't say it was horrible, because I ended up reading all 500+ pages. But. it seems a pity that Franzen spent so much effort and time to come up with characters and a story that are, in the end, so inconsequential.

    I also thought his use of adjectives was sometimes silly. Phrases like "impossibly pale skin," "insanely beautiful hair," "ridiculously delicious smell" and such made me wince.

    The environmental issues felt stuck-in, forced, awkward.

    And why does everybody "f**k?" No one once "made love" or "had sex."

    I'll have to re-read The Corrections and see if I can figure out why I thought it was so much better.

    11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2010

    Boring

    At 250 pages read I had abolutely mo strong feeling for any of the characters, and this continued. If this is an intellectual's book, I am happy not to be one. A complete wasre of time and money.

    9 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Nothing grabbed me.

    Franzen's prose is masterful and his voice is unique but i need more to capture my interest. I had no one to root for. Flawed characters were authentic, yet totally unlikable. I just didn't care about the outcome of their lives or petty struggles. I had no impulse to keep turning the page. I had to force myself to finish.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A struggle

    I simply found this book a struggle to finish and the only reason I can give is the characters. Johnathan Franzen the author attempts to bring the reader through the storyline from its beginning, middle and end from the perspective of all his main characters. Unfortunatly for the reader he fails to make some of these characters interesting or even likeable. While I flew through and enjoyed the stories written by Patty and Richard, all the other characters (Joey, Walter) are boring to the point you wish to skip their entire chapters. Unfortunatly in fear of missing key moments the reader must suffer through these sections giving the book and uneven and sometimes unbearably slow pace. I found myself simply thankful for the book to be over and most likely will not attempt to read this author again.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Stay Free from Freedom

    I really hate giving any book less than 3 stars. I know that these are works of love by the authors and I hate being negative about them ... but ... first, I would have never bought this book if I hadn't done it before Oprah announced it as part of her Oprah book club. I think most of her choices are horrible. Second, this book was just thick with goop that I couldn't ponder, much less, stay awake for. If this is suppose to be social commentary of families of today, then, it makes me really depressed. Then again, maybe I am missing the point. But bottom line is, if you need a good nap (or doorstop)... you have come to the right place.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2011

    If you didn't care for Bonfire of the Vanities, don't pick this up.

    If you are middle age this book is very depressing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2010

    Extremely disappointing!

    After reading a number of books this past summer, I was anxious to delve into something meaty and exciting. Unfortunately, this was not it. This book was such a disappointment. The characters are whiny, spineless and have no redeeming qualities. The story drags on and on and on! I was so determined to read this book to the end and I just never made it. According to the other reviewers, I didn't miss anything. I may try to wade through this again next summer but only if I can't find anything else to read. How can Oprah go from The Help (one of the best I've ever read) to this novel?

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2013

    I think that Johnathan Franzen just needed an outlet for his dee

    I think that Johnathan Franzen just needed an outlet for his deep interests and belief in nature conservancy. Many times throughout the book I felt that the outburst by Walter Berglund regarding his obsession with birds was just unnecessary. Overall, it just wasn't my type of book to read. And over 500 pages of it was difficult to push myself through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    Dark Depressing and way too long

    It took forever to get remotely interesting. Didn't like any of the characters. Would not reccommend. Wasn't even going to finish the book but did finally for book club.

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  • Posted February 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Just OK - would not read again nor suggest this to anyone.

    Enjoyed the "The Corrections"...this is nothing close.

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  • Posted January 15, 2012

    Didn't like it

    I think that Jonathan Franzen is an excellent writer and I think I am smarter for having read his books but I was very disappointed with the story line.

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    Avoid like the plague!

    I've never found a book like "Freedom" where EVERY character makes the wrong life choices time after time after time. Couldn't there have been at least one character with a thimble of common sense? The obsession with sex and drugs is so unrealistic (I hope). What really annoyed me was that Franzen explained in excruciating detail the trains of thought in all his characters. As Mozart was told by his Italian rivals, "Too many notes." If "Freedom" were re-published as a "Reader's Digest" condensed book, it could be shaved down to 100 pages. I'd type some more comments, but I'm about to hit the bong and have sex for the next 24 hours.

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

    Freedom felt like captivity.

    Franzen writes with extremely captivating detail, but this aspect becomes the downfall of this literary slog. The story of these characters could have been told in fewer than 300 pages. The resolution, told in the last 55 pages, is excellent. However, most of the book felt like torture and leaves the reader wondering if he or she will find freedom from this arduous reading experience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2011

    quite a disappointment after all the PR hype

    I read (and finished) this book for my book club but was highly disappointed. I didn't care for a single character in the book - none are the kind I would care to get to know in my real life. Several of the story lines in the book feel incomplete, as if the author got started and couldn't come up with a way to finish and wrapped them in a hurry before the publisher's deadline. Though in several sections of the book the narrator is a female, it is clear that it is written by a man - it lacks a woman's perspective. I agree with other reviewers that the writing style is hard to read - the chapters drag on without a breaking point, even though there is a lot of jumping around in the story. The only reason I can understand someone's fascination with the book is that it does describe ordinary people and common problems - we might all know a neighbor who is similar to Patty or Walter in their desperation. As far as the political issues raised in the book - the environment and the war and reconstruction in Iraq - I didn't feel they were developed enough to make a relevant argument.

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  • Posted March 24, 2011

    Disappointed

    I couldn't wade through this...very seldom don't finish a book. Basically, didn't like the characters.

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  • Posted February 21, 2011

    Unfortunately, I can not recommend.

    I am in total agreement with "Voracious Reader". None of the characters could hold my interest for long. "The chapters droned on and on". The story could have been told in 200 words or less.

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  • Posted February 4, 2011

    SLOW READ, BORING CHARACTERS

    This was my first NookBook, and it was torturous to get through. My neighbors are more interesting than these boring characters. Not sure if this was written in hopes it would become a television pilot by the same folks who did Boston Legal, but that's how it read to me, and not nearly as interesting.

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  • Posted January 22, 2011

    An unsatisfying read

    Very disappointing. I finished it but only because I kept looking for that "wow" factor, which unfortunately, never happened. Too long and ultimately boring.

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