I have FINALLY finished step 1 of my read-better-books-and-stop-being-a-waste-of-space reading challenge. For my first award-winning book, I read The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. I know I’m totally late to the party on this one, this isn’t exactly a new release. But then again, what is trending is not the point of the reading challenge. I am sticking with the tried (criticized) and true (accepted). This book won just tons of critical acclaim, and I have seen it on lists of the best modern novels.
I’ve been working a lot, so that is my official excuse, but it took me quite a while to get through this book. Not gonna lie, not totally uplifting. Ok, it was a very realistic book, so therefor, a total downer (What? The world is an unhappy place…) (Says boyfriend: “Stop reading depressing books, your job is dry and depressing enough”.) I thought the writing was excellent though. He’s got an incredible talent for expression and he really makes you feel for and relate to the characters, all of whom are deeply flawed, yet there is something extremely sad but familiar in each of them. The book chronicles a mid-western family, and tracks, through flashbacks, the development and upbringing of the each of the members of the family. The most striking character is the curmudgeon patriarch of the family. He sinks into dementia, and you feel as if you’re really in his head, feeling him slowly lose himself and his grip on reality. You feel how terrifying and frustrating it is, and how he becomes so vulnerable. It’s really heartbreaking.
Also, in my research for my next award-winning book to read, I discovered that Franzen caused quite a hullabaloo when he poo-pooed Oprah when she wanted to add this book to her book club, because he’s a snob and art shouldn’t be for the uncouth masses. Sorry, not gonna lie, LOVED that. What a ballsy bitch slap. Taking on Oprah – brave, man.
Buy it here.