by Jonathan Franzen

RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

Jonathan Franzen
Jonathan Franzen

In 2001, after reading all the hype and controversy, as well as the fawning reviews of Jonathan Franzen’s THE CORRECTIONS, I thought to myself that I need to read this new It Author and made plans to rush out and buy the book. But for some reason I never did and I soon forgot about both the book and the author. I must confess, I’ve always had a hard time keeping up with literature’s contemporary writers. Heck, I have a hard enough time just trying to chip away at all of the classic literary must reads that are out there and, because I never really feel like I’m reading enough, I live with a constant feeling that I’m always a bit behind in life. Perhaps I need some couch time with Dr. Phil.

I do remember thinking to myself somewhere around mid-decade that there was once some writer that I really wanted to read, but I just couldn’t remember his name no matter how hard I tried. However, after reading the gushing reviews of Franzen’s long-awaited book FREEDOM, I finally remembered that it was his book THE CORRECTIONS that I had wanted to read so long ago. So, with that euphoric feeling of finally remembering something that had been on the tip of my tongue for a decade, I immediately rushed out to get a copy of THE CORRECTIONS before I forgot about it once again.

I got it, I read it, and yes, I agree Jonathan Franzen is an amazing writer. He deserves all of the hype he has received. And, perhaps because he has been placed in a category of elite writers few have or will every reach, maybe he even deserves the hostility and parodying that he has also received…or maybe I’m just jealous. Man, woman, or beast, whoever can write like Franzen can deserves to be the It Author of the decade in my opinion.

There are many better reviews about THE CORRECTIONS out there than I could ever write so all I’ll say is that the book is a sad, funny, and often psychologically wrenching story about a dysfunctional Midwestern family where, like the inevitable and often unexpected, and sometimes shattering, corrections that stock markets suffer from when they become unnaturally distorted or bloated, each member of this scattered and failing family is in need of his or her own life correction.

Coupled with his fluid writing style, perfect dialogue, and his ability to weave into the story his broad knowledge of the general mechanics of life in general, Franzen continually blew me away with his deep understanding of all the many different flavors of human nature and personality types. You will have to read the book to understand what I’m talking about here. He’s good.

The biggest fault of the book is perhaps a result of just how good Franzen is. He had so much to say that at times the story overwhelmed me with too much background and too much delving into the whys and hows the characters had turned out like they did. From time to time, I had to take a break from the book and walk it off.

Okay, so I’m ten years late to the party but I finally read THE CORRECTIONS and I’m glad I did. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend that you do. And once the massive hold queue for FREEDOM thins out at the library and my turn finally comes up, I plan on reading it, too. I just hope it doesn’t take me another ten years and having to overcome a bout of forgetfulness before I finally do.


Rating System:
★ = Unreadable
★ ★ = Poor Read
★ ★ ★ = Average Read
★ ★ ★ ★ = Outstanding Read
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Exceptional Read

Presidential Prerogative

pro-mosque protesters
Creative Commons License photo credit: derek7272

I see President Obama felt the need to comment on the issue of building a mosque near Ground Zero. I wonder why. Even though NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg praises the president for his strong support for the building of the Cordoba House, the president tells us that he is not actually commenting on the wisdom of building the site, but instead reminding us that all Americans have a fundamental right of freedom of religion. True, but did we really need the president to remind us of that? And did he really need to risk his political capital to say it?