Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
You’ve got to hand it to a guy who writes a social novel these days, especially one that’s almost 600 pages long and sprawls across four decades. Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom must have taken some balls to write.
For those who haven’t read it, the story follows archetypical socially-conscious nice guy Walter Berglund through his troubled marriage, starting in the 1970s and ending around the inauguration of Obama in 2008.
The book picks apart the psychology of Walter and his family and friends in that way that novels tend to do: psychoanalysis of the upper middle class apparently never gets old. It’s more interesting to read about low self-esteem and self-sabatoge among people who actually have the possibility of achieving what they want, I suppose.
The work Franzen has done to describe and expose the superficiality and egocentrism of American culture is admirable: at times I had to put the book down because the characters were just to realistically irritating.
I know all too well what it’s like to try and talk some sense into well-indoctrinated Americans—everybody in the States seems to be an unreasonable fanatic about something.
I gave up hope of winning that battle years ago, but I’m happy to know that people like Franzen are still out there keeping a critical eye on the idiocy.