Jonathan Franzen's Freedom is Time's top choice for fictional books in 2010 and that was the reason I decided to pick up a copy. That it was selected for Oprah's Book Club at the second half of 2010 was a coincidence on my part, although it definitely added to the hype and to my expectations.
|The author in an August 2010 cover story for Time|
College sweethearts Walter and Patty Berglund have just moved to the suburbs and they become the toast of the town. They are well-loved, until a strain in Patty's behavior gives way to full-on bitching—primarily directed at the mother of her son's girlfriend.
For a person who has always been dichotomous in his opinions and judgments
The film Revolutionary Road explores the same theme: You have a middle-class couple who recently moved into a neighborhood and they were easily welcomed by families eager to be part of their circle. However, their issues, arguments and heartaches were not abrasive or hostile to me: they were clearly trapped, particularly April, the wife, who drowned in desperation as each day passed. Their issues had weight and I empathized.
The Berglunds, on the other hand, had itches that needed to be scratched and gain closure from. It will take them decades—hundreds of pages—to finally embark on experiences they put off in college.
There's freedom for you.