Read from Aug 16 to 26, 2011
A novel exploration of relationships and economics. While not a deep scholarly paper, it was an amusing read. If I were to teach an economics 101 class I would use this book because it introduces economic theories in ways that are very accessible using relationships as the example.
The ideas presented are not going to make or break your relationship. It will, however, help you understand how you act better by framing the context in terms of economic theories such as sunk cost, game theory and aversion of loss. In many ways it helps illustrate the illogical way that we behave and offers a better response in order to maximize our results.
Sometimes the editorial comments on economic policy were presented as straw men arguments. One example was with the negative commentary on the use of government spending to stimulate an economy. Thus downplaying GDP economic theory (GDP = C+G+i+(X-M)). That aside, these straw men appeared to be more soap boxes but were rare enough to not get you riled up and frothing at the mouth because, well, you can't argue with the conclusions - just have more sex.
Read from March 23 to 30, 2011
This is the kind of book that makes you feel better about your own family experience. All families might be screwed up, but at least yours isn't as screwed up as the Berglunds. In many ways, the over-the-top family drama is reminiscent of HBO's six-feet-under, L-word, or Big-Love.
The intensity of the story line aside, the character development and quality of writing are superb. I really enjoyed the changes in authors voice as the story is told from different perspectives.
As the novel concludes, you can't help but wonder if the intention of Franzen is to be self referential: Is "Freedom" intended to be marketing material for Walter's Free Space initiative?