Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Book Review- The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

The CorrectionsI almost 'lemmed' (gave up on) this book. I hated almost every second of reading the first half of this novel. Hearing the pathetic mewling of the self-obsessed depressed characters regularly made me want to bang my face into a wall rather than read. The second half improved somewhat because I found Denise to be the least fucked-up and mentally oblivious member of the Lambert family and the Lithuania stuff was mildly interesting and because I expected Chip to get shot. I didn't feel a second of sympathy for any of the characters. I'm surprised and horrified at the amount of people who say that Franzen has done an amazing job recounting dysfunctional family life and that they recognize real people in his characters. really? Fuck, how haven't you killed them or yourself yet?  Maybe once every 50 page or so there was some mild thing that seemed familiar to me in something a character said or did but thankfully I don't know anyone like the characters in this book (rare glimpses of my mother in Enid scared the shit out of me). I actually found some of the auxiliary characters more interesting that the main cast, particularly the woman on the cruise ship but I'm glad Franzen didn't write any more about her or else he probably would have made her mentally rabid as well. I don't know if it a structural issue or ebook formatting but several of the pov transitions were very abrupt and didn't have any connection/ chapter ending/ or even a page divider to mark the change. I also felt very weird reading the book on the metro when suddenly I turned the page and Chip's listing of mentions of breasts in his screenplay appeared in 20pt font. 
Random bits I highlighted:
"but from her underpants, which to his relief were delicate and sheer -distinctly gendered- an affectionate warm rabbit came springing, a kicking wet autonomous warm animal. It was almost more than he could handle."       um, ew.
"Suzy Ghosh asked the table in a voice like hair in a shampoo commercial" what does this mean? that her voice was silky? then say her fucking voice was silky. I have never personally or known anyone to describe anything as being like hair in a shampoo commercial besides hair in a shampoo commercial. Maybe it hasn't been done before because it's pointless.

The one good thing I can say about Franzen is that his prose flows well. If I hadn't wanted to personally murder all but one of the characters and smash my own head in with a brick I would have found it a relatively smooth easy read.

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