Thoughtful Thursday: The Corrections

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Plot Summary from Wikipedia: Alfred Lambert, the patriarch of a seemingly normal family living in the fictional town of St. Jude, suffers from Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Enid, his long-suffering wife, suffers from Alfred’s controlling, rigid behavior and her own embarrassment at what she perceives as her family’s shortcomings. Their children all live in the Northeast. Gary, the eldest Lambert son, is a successful banker who refuses to believe that he has clinical depression, and, as a result, becomes increasingly paranoid, suspecting that his wife and sons are conspiring against him. Chip, the middle child, is a failed college professor whose disastrous affair with a student sends his life into decline and lands him in the employ of a Lithuanian crime boss. Denise, the youngest of the family, is successful in her career as a chef. Circumstances led her to become involved with her boss’s wife.

This book was on my to-read list for years. Years, I tell you! When I first started it, I really didn’t think I was going to like it. I felt sorry for all the characters in one way or another, and I don’t really like reading stories about the sad lives of unhappy people. But they’re also really funny, and their adventures sometimes border on the ridiculous. Further into it, I began to realize that this is exactly what people are really like. Jonathan Franzen is a master at capturing family dynamics juxtaposed with personal issues, and how we are affected by our families, even when we try not to be. I’m also a big fan of books whose chapters alternate points of view among the different characters. By the end, I felt like I knew these people, and I didn’t want their story to end. Even though it was a GREAT ending.

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