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Freedom by Jonathan Franzen: First Paragraph, Teaser Tuesday

"The news about Walter Berglund wasn't picked up locally -- he and Patty had moved away to Washington two years earlier and meant nothing to St. Paul now -- but the urban gentry of Ramsey Hill were not so loyal to their city as not to read the New York Times."
This is the beginning of Freedom, Johnathan Franzen's highly praised novel about the American family. Published in 2010 the book was an Oprah Book Club recommendation and Scott Rudin snatched it up almost instantaneously for adaptation. Where it now sits on a shelf next to Rudin's copy of The Corrections, the other Franzen novel Rudin owns the rights to. There was going to be an adaptation of The Corrections for HBO with Ewan McGregor all set to star but that's been cancelled for now. I can only hope there is actually a screenwriter somewhere with his own copy of Franzen's 562 page book, writing and re-writing away to whittle the book into a 120 page screenplay!  But how?? Regardless, I've met Walter and Patty, the young and the not-so young versions, and would love to see them onscreen. Wouldn't you?

On Tuesdays, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph of her current read. Over at Should Be Reading MizB posts a random tease for Tuesday Teasers. Mine comes from Freedom as well.

"Neighbors who were closer to the Berglunds than the Paulsens reported that Miss Bianca had left her little mouse house, on a minor lake near Grand Rapids, exclusively to Walter and not to his two brothers."


  1. Nice teaser. I haven't read anything by Franzen. Check out my teasers from Also Known As by Robin Benway and Released by Amber Polo. Happy reading!

  2. I loved Freedom (The Corrections, too!) and am sure it would make a great movie. It would be a very challenging undertaking, I'm sure.

  3. Okay, I read one of these but now I can't remember which one. A saga with some quirky (bizarre) characters -- it's a sure winner. Here's Mine

  4. This book has been on my to-read list for quite some time. Your opening paragraph and teaser remind me why I really want to read it.

  5. awww yes, I read this one (actually listened to it) and thought it was good. Hope you enjoy it. Sim, Thanks so much for joining us this week; I appreciate it.

  6. Interesting news. I liked this book and would be very interested to see it converted to the silver screen.

    1. The longer I spend reading it, and the more I like it, the harder it seems it will be to make into a film. Such a saga, so much that happens! Patty, Walter and Richard are so compelling as characters. I love that the writer shows how they were formed as people, with all their flaws, and how their choices, accidental or otherwise, determined how their lives developed. Pure pathos. And somehow I just don't see a happy ending coming.


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