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Amazon Best of the Month, September 2010: "The awful thing about life is this:" says Octave to the Marquis in Renoir's Rules of the Game. "Everyone has his reasons." That could be a motto for novelists as well, few more so than Jonathan Franzen, who seems less concerned with creating merely likeable characters than ones who are fully alive, in all their self-justifying complexity. Freedom is his fourth novel, and, yes, his first in nine years since The Corrections. Happy to say, it's very much a match for that great book, a wrenching, funny, and forgiving portrait of a Midwestern family (from St. Paul this time, rather than the fictional St. Jude). Patty and Walter Berglund find each other early: a pretty jock, focused on the court and a little lost off it, and a stolid budding lawyer, besotted with her and almost burdened by his integrity. They make a family and a life together, and, over time, slowly lose track of each other. Their stories align at times with Big Issues--among them mountaintop removal, war profiteering, and rock'n'roll--and in some ways can't be separated from them, but what you remember most are the characters, whom you grow to love the way families often love each other: not for their charm or goodness, but because they have their reasons, and you know them. --Tom Nissley
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Narrator David LeDoux does an excellent job with this long and many-charactered novel; he is equally adept at capturing the angst of Walter’s teenage daughter as the cigarette-smoking, hard-living Richard.” – SoundCommentary.com
“Oprah’s newest book-club pick is a natural fit for audio…Narrator Ledoux does a terrific job making this massive novel accessible to listeners.” – Booklist, Starred Review, Editors' Choice List 2010
“Freedom is one of the best-read audio books of recent years, and well worth the time and emotional involvement that’s needed to enjoy it.” – Dale M. Pollock, Winston Salem Journal
This book received so much critical exclaim that I feel like I might have missed something but I found it a bit banal. I did not sympathize with the characters. Read morePublished 3 months ago by NM
An international bestseller and the novel of the year, `Freedom' is an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Read more
I saw an interview with the author on bbc, and was intrigued by this book. His book like so many new books left me feeling flat. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2013 by Maggie Mandell
I couldn't get into it. I loved The Corrections so much that I had high expectations for this novel. But I cannot say it met them.Published on Nov. 25 2012 by Who the hell is Natalie Varios
It's kind of boring. I mean there are some interesting points, but they are skipped over completely. Read morePublished on July 5 2012 by Drew Samson
Heard so many great things about this writer, but this seems so high brow, for the common reader. I just feel as though Im being force fed literature, but in way too heavy doses,... Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2012 by C. J. Plourde
I read the 'official' reviews and was really looking forward to this book. Yes, it covers some interesting family dynamics but the cast is uninspiring and its a real slog. Read morePublished on June 7 2011 by Gavin1234
All I have to say is this book is brilliantly written and I was very sad when it was over.Published on June 1 2011 by Tracy Robbins
Maybe Frazen was going for oxymoron, but it's hard to find over 500 pages of microscopic middle and upper middle class detail freeing. The book drones on and weighs on you. Read morePublished on May 29 2011 by Cee Ess