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Freedom
Jonathan Franzen
Adult Fiction FRANZEN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

When Patty and Walter Berglund's teenage son moves in with their conservative neighbors and their perfect life in St. Paul begins to unravel, out spill family secrets-clandestine loves, lies, compromises, failures. David Ledoux's masterly narration is powerful and well paced, comic and poignant. He expertly captures Walter and Patty-with her anxious whinny of a laugh-and their family life with its satisfactions and histrionics. Ledoux also deftly renders the gossiping of the Berglund's disingenuous neighbors; the frenetic rants of the drug-addled Eliza; and the weary, disaffected drawl of sleazy musician Richard. A Farrar, Straus, and Giroux hardcover (Reviews, July 5). (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

"Use Well Thy Freedom": this motto, etched in stone on a college campus, hints at the moral of Franzen's sprawling, darkly comic new novel. The nature of personal freedom, the fluidity of good and evil, the moral relativism of nearly everything-Franzen takes on these thorny issues via the lives of Walter and Patty Berglund of St. Paul. With two kids, a Volvo in the garage, and a strong social conscience, the Berglunds allow their good deeds to be tinged with just a hint of smugness (which eventually comes back to haunt them). Weaving in and out of their lives is old college friend Richard Katz, low-level rock star and ultra-hip antihero. Time goes by, the kids grow up, betrayals occur, and the thin line between right and wrong blurs. Fully utilizing their freedom-to make mistakes, confuse love with lust, and mix up goodness and greed-the Berglunds give Franzen the opportunity to limn the absurdities of our modern culture. Granola moms, raging Republicans, war profiteers, crooked environmentalists, privileged offspring, and poverty-bred rednecks each enjoy the uniquely American freedom to make disastrous choices and continually reinvent themselves. Verdict As in his National Book Award winner, The Corrections, Franzen reveals a penchant for smart, deceptively simple, and culturally astute writing. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/10.]-Susanne Wells, P.L. of Cincinnati & Hamilton Cty. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Patty Berglund
Female
Married
Was the ideal helpful neighbor in her community; can't figure out why her teenage son has moved in with the Republican family next door; in love with her husband and with Richard.
Homemaker

Walter Berglund
Male
Married
Patty's husband; environmental lawyer.
Lawyer

Joey Berglund
Male
Age: Teenager
Moved in with the family next door; gets in over his head with his high school sweetheart.
Student

Richard Katz
Male
Former rock star; builds decks; in love with Patty.
Carpenter



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