Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oprah's book club pick: Freedom

I did not like Freedom. I couldn't waste any more time reading it. The characters were all dysfunctional; none was likeable. (What follows could have spoilers, if you are also reading this book.)

In the story, Patty is married to Walter and is in love with Walter's "friend", Richard. Walter is stable and husband material while Richard is a womanizer. Why would Patty fall for a character like Richard? Why would Walter be in love with Patty, a woman that was clearly stupid and naive? Patty made friends in college with Eliza, a manipulative and controlling person who established rules for their relationship. How could Patty not see right away that something was not quite right about Eliza?

Patty grew up feeling neglected by her parents yet she herself raises two children and repeats the pattern. She ignores one child, her daughter, and she overwhelms the other child, her son, with so much attention as if he were her best buddy. He grows up resenting her for burdening him with her issues. He gets his freedom by escaping and moving in with the family next door.

Walter and Patty move to Washington D.C. where Patty encourages Walter to have a relationship with his young Indian assistant who is actually in love with Walter. Patty and Walter are clearly unhappy with each other but not ready to end the marriage. Patty hooks up with Richard again.

I was intrigued with Patty's son and how his relationship with the clingy Connie was going to turn out. I skimmed the pages and saw that he actually marries her despite treating her so badly.

Yesterday, I moved on to read Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda. Only 213 pages so I finished in a day. It was a sad book about the bullying of a Chinese American boy in a predominantly white school. This is a mystery story where boys in his class start disappearing; in fact it is a good Halloween scary type story. There is no happy ending.

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