Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (2010)

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I found it difficult to get into this book. The first half was long and slow and the characters weren’t incredibly likable. However, as Franzen peeled back the layers on the complex relationships in this novel, it became easier to identify with his characters motives and mistakes. Walter, Patty, Richard and Joey are struggling to figure out what being true to themselves will cost them and whether that freedom is worth the cost.

There is a lot going on in Freedom. It’s at once a portrait of marriage, lust, betrayal, duty, friendship, depression, politics, economics, and love. Competition and freedom are central themes to this novel, and Franzen repeatedly challenges the reader to ponder: What does freedom look like? Do we find it in another person? In being true to ourselves? In letting go of our mistakes? In letting go of the mistakes others have made that have causes us harm? Despite the rough start, I think this is a book that will stay with me for longer than I would have imagined.

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