To keep in style of the book this review will be just a lot of rambling.
I mean, it was mostly a soap opera. And I just don’t do soap operas. I can just about manage about 10 minutes every 5th episode, but that’s about it. And Franzen submitted me to 570 bloody pages of a soap opera which I had to digest in a few sittings.
Like in all soap operas, everything ends well and love conquers all, of course some characters might have to be killed off along the way, but it seems like a small price to pay for a happy ending, non?
If it was well written, then maybe. But how can I take this sort of thing seriously:
"Patty said no, Walter insisted, she insisted no, he insisted yes. Then she realized he didn’t have a car and was offering to ride the bus with her, and she insisted no all over again, and he insisted yes"
Sorry, what is this? Is this the Great American Novel? Are you kidding me?
"She almost suggested to Walter that he had better kiss her first, if he was going to be asking her to live with him, but she was so offended that she didn’t feel like being kissed at that moment."
And if you are tired of this sugary girly revelations, you can get the more raw stuff when the perspective changes to Katz:
"His dick was saying yes to something now, and this something was certainly not the wideish ass of the retreating jogger. Had death, in fact, been his dick’s message in sending him to Washington? Had he simply misunderstood its prophecy?"
You get the idea.
And don’t even get me started on the fucked up chronology. It wasn’t done in eloquent, mysterious way, it was done in a blabbermouth with ADHD way. It is like my friend Maciek, who tells me a story and in the middle of it he remembers some other story that might or might not be related to the story he is telling me so he tells me that other story, and then some other story that somehow came from the second story, and then maybe he will return to the main story and you end up wondering if the second story actually happened in the middle of the first story or it was just his way of telling a story.
The final moral from this book is that we are all fucked up in our own special way but it will all be alright unless, of course, we become Republicans, in which case there will be no redemption.
It almost killed me. This book almost killed me. But as they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, therefore this book made stronger, so for that alone I had to give it two stars.
I will admit that Patty and Walter were both interesting characters with all the supporting cast being all sorts of caricatures and serving as props to the main duo.
Now, I am off to read a book about people who do things and have real problems.
PS. Oh, yeah. And I also forgot to say that if this book was written by a woman, it would be deemed chick lit and stuck in a pastel colour cover with birds and flowers. No one would even look at it twice because there is so much better chick lit out there. But as Jonathan Franzen is lucky enough to be a man, this, all of a sudden, is the Great American Novel. DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH.
If anyone else claims there is no sexism in literary/publishing world, this here is my best demonstrative evidence that there is. Honest to God, who would take this book seriously if it was written by a woman and had something pink on the cover?