by Jonathan Franzen
3.2 2454


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Freedom 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2454 reviews.
Bookbabe53 More than 1 year ago
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.
Tammy01 More than 1 year ago
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.
SHARON39 More than 1 year ago
FREEDOM is the story of our time, our concerns. Beautifully written, this amazing novel has a lot of entertaining satire, witty metaphors, deep insights, and a smattering of politics, (all sides). He works in what makes people tick, self-awareness and growth.human nature. The baby boomer generation, in search of the almighty self-gratification, apparently, have destroyed a great deal of the world's natural resources with no thought at all of the consequences. Strong ideas and obsessions shape people so much so that they can ruin their lives and others. Political prejudices prevent people from making friends and being genuine. Perception blinds the world's people to the world as it really is. This is a very human, realistic, painfully so, story of a couple and their friends that is totally believable, as if a true life biography. There is no Fairy Tale here. Interestingly thought-provoking! Isn't it a shame that we all can't just BE NICE? Why does that have to be so hard? Respect? Why does that have to be so hard? I recommend this to the reader who has an open mind and is capable of understanding the author's intention.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you want instant gratification this isn't the book for you. Franzen is a master manipulator who steals your freedom and shackles you--both vicariously, through the repressions, obligations, confoundedness and slavish desires of his own characters--and literally, with pages and pages of relentless social, environmental, and political diatribes. It's like being tied to a chair and ideologically pistol-whipped. He baits you with "will they or won't they" sexual tensions, and then sets the hook deeper and deeper with end-of-chapter cliff hangers. Then, round about page 435 (ereader edition) he gives you your first taste of freedom--a heady, wondrous taste of freedom. Through self-discovery and self-understanding and unconditional love some bit of redemption is had. This is ultimately not an intellectual book but an experiential one and you won't experience its substantial joys and rewards until you pay the price. Freedom, apparently, ain't free. I was astonished to find, after disliking many aspects of this book and feeling uninvested in the characters emotionally throughout most of it, myself weeping at the end. It really is masterful in a very unexpected way and I think that's why the critics are in a tizzy. Perhaps it doesn't exactly have something new to say, but it has a new way of saying it. It has a new way of making you feel it that doesn't pander or sentimentalize. In a unique way it gets to the heart of something honest and real about humanity and the world in the new millennium.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
A big book, in every sense. The whole of America is wrapped in its pages--a close, funny, irreverent look at "the way we live now." Funny and tragic at the same time, Freedom is a comedy of manners that can enter the literary canon as a marker for America early in the 21st century, just as the novels of Henry James and Edith Wharton gave us the motivations and beliefs of Americans in the early 20th. What I understood the author was saying is that we have so much freedom to create our own lives and make our choices, but sometimes that freedom is as much of a burden as not having freedom. And that perhaps with all our freedom, our choices are less than laudable, and feel more like mistakes. Maybe we're not doing such a bang-up job of making good citizens despite our unprecedented learning and wealth. We may have an inkling of what we ought to do, but we never seem to choose that particular option. Franzen has the young ones of the Berglund family, Jessica and Joey, looking with dismay at the choices their parents have made, but it is just a matter of time-they have had less time to make their own choices-and mistakes. No one political party comes off looking attractive after Franzen lays waste to their point of view, showing the absurdity of the rhetoric spewing from all sides. But the author clearly believes we have a responsibility to do the moral thing--a thing we already know but "choose" not to do. It is a human failing, but in this book, it has a particularly American flavor. The book was frustrating and irritating to begin, for I felt much impatience with the long discussion of Patty's college years. I can attest to the kind of naiveté Patty exhibited in high school with her neighbor boy and in college with her stalker girl, but as an adult, the painful examination of old mistakes and errors in judgment felt like a reliving old wounds. The narrative and my sense of involvement changed, however, when Richard was introduced. The scene where Patty changes her interest from Walter to Richard felt all too real. Which one of us has not experienced the pain and humiliation of a potential lover lusting after our best friend? From whichever angle--the foolish luster, the cool lusted-after, or the poorly-done-by loser, it is an oft-played, excruciatingly painful memory, and when Franzen brought us there, he got my attention. From that point on, we regularly and ruefully see ourselves, our friends, our enemies, our families struggling to gain control of our lives, make decisions, and then overcome the results of poor decisions. With all the freedom we have to choose any direction, we often choose a wrong direction, the author seems to be saying. Judging from the recognition with which I read the novel, I've been there more times than I care to admit.
Willeo More than 1 year ago
As much as I enjoyed reading this Author's previous novel, "The Corrections", I found it to be pretty difficult to like any of the characters by the end of the book. In the end, I respected the work and the talents of the author, but the dysfunctionality of the family left me thinking that "the Corrections was not a book that I would read for fun. I could not feel any more differently about this work. Just as in his previous novel, Franzen manages here to write about real life and regular people in a way that is so transparent and relatable that you could give this book to a person in 30 years and they would know what it was like to live in the first decade of the 21st century. The characters are complex and for all their faults ultimately redeemable. This was one of those books that I was sad to finish because I wanted to keep in touch with these characters and follow their lives even further.
Voracious_ReaderNY More than 1 year ago
I was persuaded to read this book after all of the hype - cover of Time magazine, multiple radio interviews, etc. I did finish it - and it was somewhat interesting, but there was nothing to feel passionate about. It seemed like the author looked around and asked himself: "What are the hot topics that should be included?" and then found a way to insert them into the plot line. I found his style of writing difficult to get used to, as the chapters droned on and on, with no natural breaks where I could put it down. I finally had to just arbitrarily stop in the middle of a scene. Ultimately, I did not care about what happened to any of the people in this book, and it was a relief to end it. I usually trade books with friends, but this is one book that I will not inflict on others. I do not recommend this book.
sweetkitten More than 1 year ago
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,
opbitty More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend Jonathan Franzen's latest novel "Freedom"! He weaves the age-old story of marital dissatisfaction & infidelity into other moral "dilemmas" that are so current as to be seen in today's media. But most of all it is his insight into the human psyche that makes him one of the most readable of contemporary novelists.
PRD More than 1 year ago
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.
skimSC More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very well written and enjoyed reading it, but it is not a lively read. There is not much humor or levity in the book. The characters are well-developed. I did have empathy for them despite their flaws and believe that the book was about redemption in this sense. I'm glad I read it but was glad when I finished it and could leave them behind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do not understand how this book has received so much hype. It was depressing. I found none of the characters had any redeeming qualities. I don't mind sex in a book, but when, what you are reading was on the big screen it would be considered porn, it becomes unnecessary. Like a movie with the F word sprinkled liberally throughout just for shock value. I always wonder how horny these authors are that do this.
anonymous88KB More than 1 year ago
I am really surprised by some of the negative reviews of this novel. While it could be kind of dark and even brought me to tears a couple of times, it is one of a couple fo novels I have read lately that have renewed my belief in great modern literature that uses current issues and problems to create a believable and absorbing story. Wonderful!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Might I suggest another? It's call "When God Stopped Keeping Score" by R.A. Clark. Good book with a timely message.
readaRL More than 1 year ago
Clearly a mistake to have spent the time to read this self-absorbed writers story of her pitiful life, by a MAN ? Written in annoying autobiographical manner and about nothing important at all. Could not finish after 180 pages of waiting for something meaningful to be said. Absolutely would not recommend.
jhbb More than 1 year ago
Please do not waste your time on this book. The characters are shallow, self-centered and above all boring. It shows a very unlikeable Patty, who really has no redeeming value. We share our book's but this is one I ditched as I was to embarrassed to let the group know I had read it. Save yourself the time and money and pick another book. There are so many books that will serve you better for a good read.
MandyM More than 1 year ago
This was a big disappointment, before I even knew about Oprah's recommendation. The writing style is annoying. It's a slew of facts which are suppeosed to lead to the character development. Patty wasn't compelling to me at all. I kept trying to read it because it was supposed to be fabulous. When it was over, I realized that the hyped up books are just that.
SnowMore More than 1 year ago
This is simply the best novel by a contemprary author that I've read. Amazingly real characters -- both major and minor; important themes; the obligatory hilarity and heartbreak, exceptionally well executed -- nary a word awry. It's for an about liberal "elites", so if you're a tea-partier, you might as well look elsewhere. All others, buy, read, enjoy and admire.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a forum to review books. If you wish to communicate with each other go to a social media site like facebook. B&N sells books. These reviews are important to those of us who wish to buy books. But your coded dialogs are annoying and at times rather vulgar. I hope B&N finds a way to block and ban you from here.
vegaskate More than 1 year ago
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.
Idnac More than 1 year ago
This was a well written book with a story line developed around some very complex characters. As with all characters, there are going to be some that you relate to which makes them easy to read about, and some that you struggle understanding which in turn makes it more difficult to read through the pages. Some of the reviews on here have said this book was boring and difficult to read. I think that this goes back to relating to characters and not trying to understand from each of their perspectives as the author intended. I thought this was an easy read! I am excited to read more from this author, as this was my first experience with his work.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Well remembered for his masterful readings of such titles as "Water For Elephants" and "The Second Horseman," David Ledoux gives a praiseworthy narration of FREEDOM, a story in which he's required to portray many characters. As has been said, "His voice inhabits the characters' psyches, sharing their loves, fears, and anxieties. Ledoux gives a vibrant performance, imbuing each character with a unique voice and tone." How true! The winner of two AudioFile Earphones Awards Ledoux presents listeners with a varied cast of characters, each very different, each intriguing in his or her own way. FREEDOM is 25 hours of pure listening pleasure. However, one cannot say the story is always pure pleasure but rather thought provoking, a mini look at our shared history as it highlights Patty and Walter Berglund, a once perfect couple now trying to come to terms with a very changed world. The pair have renovated an old home among other badly in need of repair homes in Ramsey Hill, a section of St. Paul. Patty is the sunshine in their neighborhood, "a sunny carrier of sociological pollen, an affable bee," always busy doing good - sharing a platter of cookies, bringing a small bouquet of flowers. Walter is her perfect companion, a lawyer so decent, so honest that he almost glows with good will, philanthropy, and a commitment to the environment (he commutes by bicycle each day). Yet, is it not possible that the Berglunds are uncomfortable with their good fortune, somehow trying to deserve their gifts? Also, is it not possible that such meritorious devotion to the good might later manifest itself as overwrought zeal? Their idyllic life begins to shatter when their bright, doted upon son, Joey, leaves home to live with a neighbor described as one wearing "a Vikings jersey with his work boots unlaced and a beer can in his fist." The author takes us through the years with the Berglunds as each ages, remembering the pasts that formed them, questioning what they believed to be true, and becoming increasingly confounded by the time in which they now live. They change, remarkably so, as has our world. Jonathan Franzen is brilliant and FREEDOM is not to be forgotten. - Gail Cooke
UWSideReader More than 1 year ago
Change and self-awareness are elusive, fickle and hard won through J Franzen's ability to convincingly change viewpoints, voices and settings and timelines. As in The Corrections, human failings are reinterpreted with wry humor and a well-developed cast of characters, with varying self-insight. I enjoy Franzen's ability to play off political events, social causes and well described places. Freedom, it seems, is the journey through time and not set through a singular adolescent declaration or draw.
Mr6Sigma More than 1 year ago
I must admit most of my reading consists of non-fiction, primarily politics, finance and economics. I had read a weird article in the LA Times opinion section about this book (now I realize it was a parody) and had heard smatterings about the author and the book. When I saw it at B&N I decided to give it a read. Well, I'm at page 80. I look at the book sitting on the table, it looks back at me. Should I continue to read it as my compulsive nature directs me to do? Should I donate it to the library so it can torture some other poor soul? Should I burn it? Time will tell.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago