First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.


I have come across First Impression Friday through Krsitin Kraves Books. It piqued my interest so I decided to do my own. From Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story, I am jumping to another American author, Jonathan Franzen. Freedom is my first dip into Franzen’s literary repertoire.

17221688378_2Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul – the gentrifiers, the hands-on parent,s the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter’s dreams. Together with Walter – environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man – she was doing her small part to build a better world.

But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz – outre rocker and Walter’s college best friend and rival – still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become “a very different kind of neighbor,” an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street’s attentive eyes?

Before I started doing must-read lists, I never  had any iota on who Jonatan Franzen was. I have neither heard of him nor read any of his works. From doing must-read lists, I have encountered The Corrections and Freedom countless of times. Out of sheer curiosity, I availed myself a copy of both books. For me not to miss out on it, I included Freedom in my 2019 Top 20 Reading List.

Despite my burgeoning reading list (and the rush to complete as many of the books), I was able to find time to read Freedom before the year draws to a close. Drawing from the synopsis, the premise does sound interesting, and to some extent, intriguing. It made me look forward to the reading experience.

Having read nearly half of the book, I can already feel the undertones of the typical American novel. The writing style is a dead giveaway. The characters and their interactions were also cut from the same cloth. There are also murmurs of the typical elements and literary tropes. Different political and societal undercurrents reverberate through the story. What, so far, sets it apart are the vestiges of environmental advocacies.

Franzen has used a healthy portion of over 200-pages to establish the different relationships that exist within the narrative. With intricate precision, he painted the complications of these different relationships. So let us get to the bottom of it all. How do these varying relationships gather together under the novel’s grandiose theme of Freedom?

Some tensions and conflicts were already established but there are still more that I can feel will develop as the story develops. However, I can only conjecture on how they will develop over time. Freedom is such a dynamic and diverse subject that the story can take on any direction and the story can take on a variety of forms. This is something that I am looking forward to. I just hope the story picks up lest I get lost in the novel’s slow-developing pace and lengthy paragraphs.

Dear fellow reader, what are you going to read this weekend? I hope you will enjoy! Happy end of week everyone!