Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen, is an epic novel of contemporary love and marriage, friendship and loyalty, children and rebellion.  It slowly weaves a portrait of Pat and Walter Berglund; the new pioneers of old St. Paul – the gentrified, hands-on parents of the Whole Foods generation and their polar opposite best friend, Richard Katz, the wildly attractive, punk rock musician.  But now, as they raise their family and do their small part to build a better world, the Berglund’s have become a mystery.  Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively conservative family next door?  Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard still doing in the picture, but most of all, what has happened to Patty?  Why has she become a very different kind of neighbor, the enviable perfect mother and wife appearing furious and unhinged, instead of forever pleasing and accommodating? In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty, the compromises, struggles and loss of control these edgy characters experience as they learn how to live with the weight of freedom.  As Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” –Adele

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