Book – Freedom

Author – Jonathan Franzen
Year – 2011
Genre – Fiction
Pages – 570
Lent to me by Angharad Rees

After a bit of a reading block, I was lent Freedom by Angharad this summer with the highest recommendation.  I was feeling pretty frazzled from a lot of reading, so was a little reluctant at the time, but with a full free day ahead of me, I decided to give it a shot.

It is the kind of book that I find tough to categorise in terms of genre.  Set in a roughly contemporary time, and following the lives of a family as they branch out in different directions, the best overall theme I can give it is ‘Fiction’.  To give you a little more, we find out in the opening that Walter Berglund has been involved in some kind of a scandal.  We don’t know what, but it has made the front page of the New York Times.  What follows is the lives of Walter and his family, with all of the mistakes that they make, and the relationships that follow.  The book is written in several different forms, including a self help autobiography from Walter’s wife Patty, alongside traditional narrative, and looks at not just this pair, but also their young Republican son, a washed up rocker, and revelations throughout.

There is nothing startlingly new or different about any of it, but it really doesn’t matter when the book is as engaging and entertaining as this one is.  I think I managed to make my way through the whole 570 pages in a little over twenty four hours, which says something about how absorbing it is.  Most of my reading tends toward more specific genres – be it fantasy, autobiography, language etc – so this is not the kind of thing I would often read, but I am glad I did as it is an incredibly good read, and worth picking up if you have a spare day to read (or week if you don’t read as fast as a freak like me).