Saturday, January 15, 2011

# 2 - The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

This was one of three books in that books of our generation list thingy posted at Pajiba a long time ago. At that time, I didn't know where to get it, so when I finally found a cheap ass copy at the local used book store (as usual), I was so excited to read it and find out why people were so affected by it.

The Corrections is about a dysfunctional (is there any other kind?) family from the midwest. Now, the kids have all grown up, living separate and hugely different lives while their parents stay as they are, as they have always been. Except that their father, once strict and authoritarian, is slowly losing his functions. The plot, thought really isn't a plot, is about Enid, the mother's attempt to gather the family for one last Christmas dinner.

This like a family history, narrating how these people got where they are now. Both losers and winners at the same time, and deeply flawed. It is at turns, funny, heartbreaking and infuriating. I really didn't find anyone that I could relate to or fully like. Well, maybe the author wasn't so concerned about us liking the characters.

I liked the book. I found myself compulsively reading it, but I don't think I GOT it, you know. Most of the reviews I've read had the authors relating deeply to the characters and to that kind of family. Where I'm from (and where I'm still at), families aren't like that. My family isn't like that. Yeah, I guess we have our own special kind of fucked up-ess, but I can't imagine not wanting to spend Christmas with my family, or wanting so desperately to leave my hometown. I mean, I'm a married, 27 year old lawyer with two kids and we (hubby and kids) still live with my parents. We don't mooch off them since we contribute to the expenses. We stay because my parents can't imagine not having their grandkids around, and because it just feels like home. Of course, we might move out eventually when the house gets too small for us, but rest assured, we won't be far away.

This has been too much about me, and too little about the book. Bottom line, I liked it, I was engaged by it, but I didn't really get it, I think.


  1. You are so lucky to have such a good relationship with your parents, cara.

    I could totally identify with all of the characters on certain points; wonder what that says about me and my family. I'd put a winky face here, but it's kinda true.

  2. An enjoyable read The Corrections: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen . loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and original, this book is going in by "to read" list.