It. Is. Finished. I have finally finished Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, which has brought about a great deal of freedom in my personal life. After being chained to the darkest novel I have ever read for the last few weeks, sweet freedom is mine. Mine, I tell you!
Not that the book was without merit. While SO perverse at times, it kind of did this really super brilliant thing where it points out that we humans are, like, so totally never satisfied with what we have. How we are forever searching and groaning in this condition of being human. So what do we do with all that unhappiness? Create and consume a bunch of stuff to distract us from the initial searching and groaning. Just keep busy.
Addiction. Check! Self-destructive behavior. Jackpot! Attempting to find our identity in all of our relationships and in our work. You’d better believe it. Now go sabotage yourself to infinity and beyond, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a New York Times bestseller. Not to mention a slap in the face and a harsh reality check. What’s so discouraging and so genius about this book, which I feel like you almost have to hate if it’s done its job, is that it holds up a mirror to the parts of humanity that you don’t wanna sit around singing “Glee” renditions with, nor do you want to buy them a Coca Cola.
And while I was often left wanting and overwrought by Franzen’s ridiculously long prose and the fact that it sometimes hit dangerously close to home, there was some redemption. Some. A skoach. But mostly, relief at it finally being over.
Over for now, that is, because you don’t get called ‘a great American novelist’ (which, by the way, is probably accurate) by Time magazine for nothing. Oh, and the film rights have already been bought, so look to find Freedom in a theater near you soon.
In the meantime, I’m going to do my best to shake the dirrrrty off that comes from reading this here book and hope to do better by my loved ones.