"Jonathan Franzen has a way of making people mad."
|photo by Greg Martin, taken from NPR|
I sort of can't stop thinking about this NPR article. I can't think of another writer I feel so divided on my feelings for (as I, apparently can't seem to STOP discussing on here.) While I do think Freedom deserves what it's getting (I'm about 20% through and the guy is just precise. So precise. The dialogue, the insights, all of it. I love this book.) But I also can't help feeling I agree completely with this from Jennifer Weiner:
"It's just interesting to sort of stack them up against a Lorrie Moore or against a Mona Simpson — who write books about families that are seen as excellent books about families," Weiner says. "And then to look at a Jonathan Franzen who writes a book about a family but we are told this is a book about America."
and also this from Jane Smiley:
"There's an aspect of fiction that is being written by women that is really smart, really daring, in terms of the subject matter that it takes on — and really popular. And I think it's being overlooked because it's so, so straightforward and because the payoff is emotional rather than intellectual."
Essentially, I call Franzen my abusive boyfriend. My friends hate me for loving him. They wish we'd break up. "That guy acts like such an ass every time we see him, Ryann." And it's true. In public, he puts his foot in his mouth almost every chance he gets. He never ever says the right thing. (Like this one: At the NY Public Library Centennial Gala - "What do you make of this historic night?"
Jonathan Franzen: "You know, there used to be a reservoir built on this spot, provided water for all of Manhattan...Oh, I'm so drunk.")
And how I answer my friends is like this: "But guys, I wish you could see him when its just the two of us. He's so sweet to me when we're in bed together. He says the funniest, wittiest, most insightful things."
And it's true. Nobody treats me like Franzy when its just the two of us, alone together. Too bad he's so hard to take out in public.