…well…. anyone in this book, really.
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen is another must read. (I’m sure I’ll do a review on a book I don’t like very soon, because all I seem to be doing these days is reading. [I’m currently in the middle of a book I’m not enjoying, but I’ll get through it, don’t you worry.])
UFFDA! Welp, since I don’t want to be like anyone in this book, I’m currently dealing with a little bit of denial. Not really, but sort of.
You see, I’m a Midwesterner. I DO consider myself from the Southwest nowadays, but when it comes down to what I call POP, or how often I say UFFDA, or the fact that I get my Minnesotan ACCENT back whenever I’m within a ten mile radius of someone with their own Minnesotan accent…you get the pictures. Once you’re from the Midwest, a part of you will always stay there. I will always have lefse in my heart (and regrettably not in my stomach.)
So as I read The Corrections, I was constantly reminded of that random old lady down the street, that person I could have turned into, the way my life might have turned out had we stayed. (NOTE: This is in no way a statement about everyone in the Midwest being like the characters in this book, but hey, just read it, and TELL me you don’t at least see a little bit of yourself… and learn to laugh at yourself, too, please.)
As always, I feel the need not to tell you too much (as I am usually accused of doing here in the Williams household.) I will give you just enough info to convince you that this book will in some way improve your life.
“She had so much personality and so little anything else that even staring straight at her he had no idea what she really looked like.”
Because do you want to be an unhappy man, with an awful, lying and conniving wife, who ultimately blames his parents for everything that goes wrong?
Do you want to have affair after affair with
married men and women random people while you pine away at your career because you literally have nothing else in life?
Does getting fired from the best job you can imagine sound great, especially after taking a ton of drugs and doing something very much against the rules, appeal to you?
AND…Drum roll please…. do you want to feel as if the only chance for your own personal happiness lies in having one last Christmas with your three children in town, because you suspect all might fall even further to sh*t and if it doesn’t happen now, it most certainly never will?
Now listen. I am not one of those “Nobody can be truly happy, marriage is b.s., and the American Dream is the biggest joke, right after something baseball related (do I know anything about baseball? No. But someone who does would say something about it here.)” I’m not. I’m really happy, I swear. I think people make their own happiness based on what they choose to have in their lives, which includes people, objects, laughter and more. That is: the right people, not many objects, tons of laughter, and a lot of other factors that we decide as we wake up in the morning.
“And if you sat at the dinner table long enough, whether in punishment or in refusal or simply in boredom, you never stopped sitting there. Some part of you sat there all your life.”
Even being a fairly positive, optimistic person, I still loved this good-and-depressing book. I was wrapped up in the drama of each individual story. I wanted the characters to fall further and further, simply to understand and learn how that could possibly happen in life and why, during the fall, it seems okay to be going down instead of up.
Enid, the mother and wife in this story, is an always judgemental, yet always feeling judged, good and “true blue,” tradition following Midwesterner. She and her husband Alfred have one of the saddest relationships I’ve ever read about, and to make matters worse, he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. All she wants is for her three children, Gary, Chip and Denise to come home for Christmas.
The fact that Gary’s wife refuses to ever step foot in her in-law’s house for a holiday again makes this difficult. So does Chip’s sketchy new job in a foreign country, where his main concern is conning the people in the US. And Denise shows interest only because, as the youngest, she feels the most obligation to at least make her father happy, if nothing else.
“The only guaranteed result of having an affair would be to add yet another disapproving woman to his life.”
This book will keep you up at night as you read about business ventures that are way over your head, heartbreaking mistakes, even more heartbreaking judgments, and ultimately… the love of a family, and how no matter how messed up every. single. person. in said family may be, there will always be a hidden reason you should love them and be grateful for them.
And you’ll immediately start feeling like the crazy you thought your parents were, they aren’t. (love you mom and dad!)
And you’ll see your marriage as one of the most functional in all the land.
And you’ll never want to travel to a foreign Eastern European country for “business.”
You might even stop trying to change everyone around you and start accepting them for who they are. You might reach over and grab your spouse’s hand, realizing that the gesture means more to some people than a million dollars. Your heart might warm, even though this is a pretty hard-core realism-induced depressing-state-of-America type book.
You’ll see the light, or it may find you within these pages.
Let me know if you read The Corrections. I’d love to hear that it affected someone the way it affected me.
Love, your truly happy, content, and Midwestern