Some people love Jonathan Franzen and some people hate him. Some people sort of race through his book without deciding if they love him or hate him but understanding that he is an excellent writer. And that person is me. This is my second Franzen book, the first being “Freedom” and both times I have gotten caught up in his writing, find it affecting me, creeping into my own life, making me question what the hell I am doing with my life. So, yes, he is a powerful writer. Someone who can make you really take a good, hard, cold look at people. I feel like he understands people. In all their fucked up glory.
With “The Corrections” we get another family saga. We have Enid, the wife who cares too much what everyone else thinks, Alfred, the stern, depressed and ill father, and the three children Gary, Chipper and Denise. The characters all get a piece of the book and they are all hate-able in their own ways. I guess that is what makes them real. By the end of it, I only really hated Gary though. Gary needs to take a good , hard look at himself.
I think every time we read, in a way we have to understand something in it, something has to poke us in the chest and affect us in order for us to connect with it. This book did that for me in many ways. Enid, in many ways reminded me of my mother and the relationship between her and Denise was bang on to a lot of mother/daughter relationships, I am sure. They way we hide our true selves from our families, the way we put up a veneer.
The characters are strong, there is enough drama to keep the plot moving and the descriptions often hit you right in the gullet. There are plenty of ups and downs and surprising twists to keep the reader widely engaged.
When I finished I took a deep sigh of relief, I imagine Enid doing the same.
If anything, maybe drop your disguises within your own relationships. We will find out we the real us was always there all along.