it is rare that i leave a book basically hating all of the lead characters. seriously. if the book had ended with a drive by shooting that took out the berglund clan and richard as collateral, i would've supported it one hundred percent. i will say that it is a testament to franzen's writing that i have such strong feelings, because it's better to make someone feel ANYTHING strongly than to have indifference.
but given the state of pop culture, can i really be surprised with the anti-heroism in the book? look at don draper, walter white, nicholas brody. all characters we love to hate. and franzen is at the top of his game when writing patty berglund.
i wanted to root for patty. i really did. a strong woman who excelled in high school athletics who ends up with two kids and a loving husband? basically my life and my dreams. well, my dreams until i realized i might not be the marrying or parenting kind (disregard that, mom). but there is something about patty that makes my blood boil. i get that she had a rough life growing up, but i don't understand some of the choices she makes. maybe she's more complex than me. maybe i am just not grown up enough for it. but either way, i spent half of the book thinking, "stop being a bitch and get your shit back together, lady!"
sadly, there's not much more that i really want to say about the book other than i got through it. in fact, after i finished it, i read two books in the following week that i loved so much more. one is a series i like and the other you should all go out immediately read because it is beautiful and sad and happy at the same time. it's called calling me home by julie kibler and you have to invest your time in it immediately.
now i'm on to grapes of wrath, which has been a goal of mine to read for the past 10 years or so. when i picked up my copy that i've owned that long, i found this note as a bookmark:
game on, steinbeck.