Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A tribute to Jonthan Franzen, on his birthday.

   Y'all know I love to celebrate authors' birthdays, and today we celebrate Jonathan Franzen's 52nd birthday.  While I enjoyed his newest novel, Freedom, my favorite of his novels is definitely The Corrections.  Many people remember this book from the Oprah scandal that surrounded its release.  Basically, The Corrections was chosen to be a part of Oprah's Book Club, and Jonathan Franzen was hesitant about how that might affect potential readers, especially males.  Of course, it was blown waaayy out of proportion in the media and Mr. Franzen was portrayed as an ungrateful snob.  Oprah fans were pissed.  But I definitely understand his concern.  While I love the fact that Oprah's Book Club gets people reading who might not normally pick up a book, it also attaches a certain stigma to whichever book is chosen.

   Anyway, for those who have not had the opportunity to read The Corrections, I encourage you to do so.  This book contains some of the most well-developed, multidimensional characters that I have ever encountered.  The novel is about the Lambert family - a group of cynical, dysfunctional, and detached people (at least when it comes to each other).  But due to their father's declining health, the scattered Lambert children are asked to re-converge for one last family Christmas together, where they must face each others' flaws and confront their own imperfections both individually, and collectively as a family.  I know my description can in no way accurately describe how amazing this book really is, but you'll just have to take my word.  It's definitely more character-driven than plot-driven, but the Lamberts are so familiarly dysfunctional that it is hard not to sympathize on many different levels and become involved in their histories.  I read this book 5 years ago, but it has really stuck with me, and I will never stop recommending it to others.

 Happy Birthday, Jonathan Franzen.  Please write forever!