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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why can't people can't enjoy a good book?
Let me sum up for you every bad review you might read here: Wah wah, this book didn't fulfill my preconceived expectations. Wah wah, I only like stories where the characters are 100% likeable.
My wife and I are reading this book right now and I can tell you this book will challenge you. Can't deal with that? Try another book. In fact, might as well forget books...
Published on June 11 2002 by D. Cochran

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another Novel Full of People with No Depth/Character
First of all, let me give Mr. Franzen credit. He is a very gifted writer. At times, his sentences are lyrical and reminiscent of the simple fact that good writing is art. With that said, WHAT he writes about is banal and lame and is very disappointing. In his Nobel Prize Speech, William Faulkner correctly delineated between good writing and bad:
"[T]he young man or...
Published on May 11 2002 by B. Buckley


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2.0 out of 5 stars DeLillo has no cause to worry., Sept. 3 2001
By A Customer
This book has sweep, it has ideas, it has social commentary. But its style is tedious and trivializes everything. The sentences go clunkety-clunk. They are f-l-a-t. Sentences are crammed with predictable details. This is journalism and sociology trying to pass themselves off as literature. It's not working.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Franzen's Breakout Book, Sept. 2 2001
By 
As author with my first novel in its initial release, I love to read a novel like THE CORRECTIONS. Jonathan Franzen has written an amazing book here. THE CORRECTIONS will obviously be Mr. Franzen's breakout book. With THE CORRECTIONS, Jonathan Franzen becomes a major novelist. It deals with a marvelously dysfunctional family as the formerly strong patriarch struggles against Parkinson's Disease and dementia. Franzen puts it all into this book. His prose is perfect. His tone couldn't be better. He has vividly drawn characters and a well-plotted story. I cannot imagine this book being better written.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books ever written!, Dec 31 2006
This review is from: The Corrections (Paperback)
When a novel is published with the hype, publicity and media fanfare of "The Corrections" it seems to create an odd backlash.

The book is rarely judged on its own merits, on whether of not it is simply a good, entertaining novel, but instead, judged on whether of not it is the greatest piece of literature ever created, an inherently unfair standard. There are probably a whole plethora of reasons as to why this is the case, from inflated expectations to the bizarre animosity many readers of "serious" fiction have with anything that becomes too popular or makes money.

In other words, I would be willing to bet that had "The Corrections" been published without the immense fanfare, you would find its average Amazon.com user rating much higher, since people would be judging it on its own terms, instead of on whether or not it is deserving of its status as the "it" book of the time.

After finishing, "The Corrections", two things are for sure: Franzen is an excellent writer, equally adept at both humor and drama, and he also has a keen and observant eye for human behavior. Franzen's characters are some of the most three-dimensional characters to ever hit the page. Each character is so fully fleshed out that it is hard to believe they are fictional.

Franzen doesn't just give you just a base level understanding of each character and then move on, instead you get even the most subtle details of each characters personality. You have the overbearing mother, who stubbornly refuses to face reality, the repressed, distant father rapidly losing control of his body and mind, to their grown children, all of whom, in their own way, have made a mess of their own lives in an attempt to "not be like their parents". While the topic of dysfunctional families if far from original, it is rare to see the subject dealt with in such an entertaining and authentic way, without stereotypical characters or a convoluted plot.

I had two criticisms of "The Corrections", having nothing to do with the story itself, but more to do with the length and pacing of the book. Each primary character in the novel is given his or her own section, almost like a novel within a novel, which, while serving to give the reader a detailed understanding of each character, did get a bit tedious. The section where the parents, Alfred and Enid, are on a seniors cruise was so long and often boring that after awhile I was ready to jump overboard myself. That chapter easily could have been cut down by half.

Also, while I appreciated that each character was given equal coverage in the book, I thought the novel would have flowed better had it been paced differently. Instead of separating each characters story into individual sections, I think it would have been wiser to have interspersed between the various characters throughout the book.

Franzen could have kept all the same information in the novel, but made each section seem less exhausting. Another problem with dedicating an individual section of the novel to each character was it made it a bit hard to keep all of the various stories straight. For example, Chip, the character who is the focus of the novel's first section, doesn't return until several hundred pages later, so by the time he reappeared I had forgotten so much about his situation that I had to spend an annoyingly long amount of time going back to the first section of the book to refresh my memory.

Outside of these two complaints, I thought "The Corrections" was a solid effort.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Maybe it got better, but I didn't get that far, June 2 2002
By A Customer
I tried, I really tried. I hung in there until the excruciating, long, drawn out description of Alfred trying to sit on Chip's chaise longue. I don't know if he ever did sit down. Yawn.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars blah blah blah, May 23 2002
By 
Holly Wood (Over the Rainbow) - See all my reviews
While reading this book, I was completley uninterested and bored out of my mind. It was about a mother and father who decided to have a little fun and travel to see their children after spending a long time away from them. The transition between each sibling went fluently, but it was still a bit dragged on.The summary on the inside flap of the book states that it is about a father getting Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease, but little did it tell of the effects the diseases had on the father and his family. Most would think the story is about a family tryin to help their father (from the decieving inside flap), when in reality, little is about him and his struggle through the diseases. It was extremley long, and overrated by many peopl. Most of the parts in the book were over elaborated and not necessary in order to understand the plot, if anything, it made the book harder to read. Everything someone said had a story behind it. The author,Jonathan Franzen, was not creative at all by taking a very simplistic veiwpoint on an average family's life and doing nothing with it. The Corrections is a waste of money.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Excruciating, Sept. 20 2010
This review is from: The Corrections: A Novel (Paperback)
Are you kidding me, what a waste of money and time. The characters are pathetic, the language is arrogant and unnecessary, I had to stop I couldn't justify punishing myself any longer
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for your book/quilting club..., May 5 2002
By A Customer
The controversy and hype surrounding The Corrections... Of course, there's the part about corporate ownership, but what I think is the real issue, the reason Franzen didn't see his novel as an Oprah choice, is maybe he knew Oprah's Book Clubbers would simply not understand the underlying themes of the novel. "My God! There's a talking turd in the book! Put it in the fire!" It's a kneejerk reaction to something uncomfortable, and to hinge value of the entire work on this one scene, this couple of pages (I'll admit, I took a long break from reading the book when I reached it), is incredibly narrow-minded. Further, after reading several reviews on the site, I was alarmed at how only a few wrote about some of the true themes from the book. The Corrections is not simply a book about a dysfunctional family. Nor is it just a satire of internet culture, pharmaceutical dependence, or the stock market boom. It is how these fit together into the American experience, certainly not ALL experience, but definitely a comment on what's perceived as important in our society, from the author's skewed point of view.
That said, The Corrections is not a brilliant novel. Ambitious, but far from perfect. I did feel a little encumbered by some of his thicker passages, but it was readable. The ending seemed tacked on; there was a "Then this happened, then this happened" feel to it, resolutions that were just a little too tidy to have any resonance. Also, I felt manipulated when I was taken far from a story line I enjoyed. That shifting of gears between stories is discouraging. The cruise dragged in the beginning but picked up in the end.
The characters are hard to like, definitely. There is no spiritual conclusion to it (is that what Oprah readers really want?). It seems the most savage reviews started like this: "I was the only person in my book club to finish this...", which leads me to believe Franzen was right in questioning the inclusion of his book. The Corrections is not for everyone. The plot isn't uplifting. The characters are not easily identified with. Obviously it isn't for the regular Oprah readers.
Case in point: a reviewer complained the book overlooked religion. How does religion factor into consumer culture, or the stock market, or the neurosis war in the Lambert household? The characters are products of mainstream American culture. Does it surprise anyone they're not very good human beings? Could it be Franzen's contempt for the Lamberts is really contempt for our society's misplaced values? A lot of these one star reviewers really don't scratch the surface. I'm not saying my interpretations are more valid than anyone else's, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of effort to pry underneath aesthetical objections to the Corrections. But again, the book isn't for everyone.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Philodoxic drivel from a Micrencephalus, Nov. 16 2002
By 
Pierce (Edmonton, AB, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Corrections (Paperback)
This book is about as pedestrian as it gets. The characters are flat and typical. Maybe Franzen should have made their "corrections" before he started writing. It just doesn't seem like he knows them. A character in a novel like this must be someone that you could conceivably and believably meet. They have to have their own personality over which the author himself has little control, but Franzen is beating his characters into submission with a pen.
My major peeves with this story:
1) The style is too constructed, Franzen is a poor writer and attempts to hide it by doing something different and experimental, but his experiment would be more effective if it were coffee house poetry. Save it for the cappuccino drinkers.
2) The language is excessive. Use the words in your own lexicon. If you need a thesaurus to find a better word, maybe you need to start taking those Increase your Word Power tests in Reader's Digest. Use your instincts, not your pretentions.
- zoysia (Pg. 1) perennial grass
Not in a typical pocketbook dictionary or thesaurus, not even in an abridged Oxford. I found it in the Scrabble Player's Dictionary.
- gerontocratic (Also on the first page) authority or government of old people
Yes, we all think you're very clever. Your adjectives are overblown and unecessary. Here's a phrase "verbal eructation".
Maybe I'm just being a "mome" (That's a nit-picking critic Mr. Franzen) but I just read a review of Franzen's new book, in which he "laments the fiction being produced by many younger writers today". It takes courage to write. The only reason I have been so willing to nit-pick over Franzen's book is that he is so willing to dismiss the efforts of others.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I'd rather read my old college chemistry book., July 16 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Corrections (Paperback)
I am really disappointed to have to say this, but I've spoken with several people who have agreed that The Corrections was the most difficult book to get through...mainly because it is just plain boring.
Some of the characters were interesting in their dysfunction, but the effort that was put into reading this novel would have been better spent earning my Ph.D.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Uncorrections, June 2 2002
By A Customer
This is the worst book I have read in a really long time. There is not one likeable character in the book. After reading about half the book, I skipped to the end (something I never do) hoping to find out that there was something redemeaming in the ending. Not so. Enid is the same hateful character she was throughout the book. In fact they all are. This book shouldn't be called the Corrections which leads you to beleive that these people are going to have some life change during this story. It should be called the Uncorrections. No one changed and they were all awful human beings!! One reveiwer wrote he could related to every character. I don't know whom he hangs out with but these characters were all scum of the earth types to me. None of them are someone I'd want to know. This was not enjoyable or interesting reading. I can't wait for my book club meeting next month. Everyone I've talked to so far hates this book. It should be a great discussion - ripping this story apart!
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