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Most despicable group of characters I've encountered.
I most heartily disagree with all the "official" reviewers and the general public who find this book to be a masterpiece and a potential classic that accurately reflects the angst and dysfunction of modern American social and family life. The book is well written from a literary and technical standpoint, except, perhaps, for the author's preoccupation with various forms of sexual obsession and a curious obsession himself with scalp odors. The characters, however, are universally odious. There is not one person portrayed that has any personal nobility or even honesty. Perhaps the author does not know any kind, honorable or non-neurotic people. I cannot believe these characters are meant to represent normal human beings. Perhaps the author meant us to recognize, as Chip does toward the end, that the whole story is (or should be) a farce. If so, I find it fails miserably in being either farcical or illuminating. It is entertaining, in its morbid way, which kept me reading to the bitter end. What a waste of time.
Franzen's Best to Date
From small town life to big city indulgences Franzen's novel brings forth nearly every aspect of family life beginning with childhood memories and working it's way through the fallout of the child-parent relationship and the failing relationship of each sibling with each other. Parkinson's disease, global politics, sexual desires, drug habits, alcoholism, depression...all intricately woven together to create a stunning web of fiction. A true masterpiece from one of the world's greatest living writers.
The Corrections entertained me while making me question "what the heck is going on here?" I often had to flip back several pages to figure out who, when and where. The author brilliantly jumped from one setting to another (and there are many scttings described in this book) sometimes seemingly in the middle of a paragraph. Generally the point of view changed at the same time, which gave clues which I would eagerly pursue. The multitude of settings as well as the range of the characters' problems that needed correction make this a wonderful read. Having been born in the fifties, I could identify, either sairically or empatheticly, with everything the author threw up for discussion. The Corrections is definitely the Great American Novel for my generation.
I hated this book. I'm tired sick of dysfunctional families being the basis for so many novels these days. I despised these characters (what a pathetic bunch of self-destructive losers). There were some passages that actually made me nauseous. I hated to pick up the book and only did so so I could finish it a get it out of my house. I think this book is a case of the emperor having no clothes.
A big disappointment. I was so excited to begin this book, but quickly realized that I would not finish it. There were only 2 people who finished it in our group of 12. I really tried, but just couldn't bring myself to finish it. Too wordy, too boring and not one character that I cared to discover more about. Just not a book for me.
I found The Corrections to be a remarkably insightful and moving family saga that struck a good balance between
social issues and personal issues. It is also at times extremely funny. The characters are nuanced and very real.
Definitely one of the most demanding and upsetting books I’ve read in a long time. A great author will make me truly dislike some of his characters; in this book, I certainly did so. A great author will make me angry and make me laugh, in this book, I did both, so Franzen, in these instances at least, is a great author. Our reading group chose it as a selection and I’m very glad I read this book. Watch for his excellent use of ‘correction’ throughout the story – it’s great. I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks that their family is dysfunctional; this family puts the ‘fun’ in dysfunction as well as anyone I’ve ever read.
I will agree, however, that Franzen tends to be wordy...and I also agree that this book will eventually fall under the category "classic".
Very nice study of a family and it's various and sundry problems. My only complaint was that the characters were very one dimensional------they could have been summed up with single sentences or phrases. As a result-----reactions at times were too predictable.