I am a big reader. My idea of a perfect day is a good book and nothing else to do. One day last week I was feeling a bit under the weather--and the weather itself was frightful: pouring rain, dreary skies, a wicked wind. I took to my bed. You know, you are living your second life when you can give yourself a day off without feeling guilty. (This takes years to achieve and shows real evolution.)
So I curled up with Jonathan Franzen's much praised and best- selling Freedom, a 562-page epic (one sentence at the beginning of part four is, in fact, 304 words long) on a new milleninium dysfunctional American family. (Note: This is not to be confused with his earlier book, Corrections, another tome but this one is about a dysfunctional American family in the last years of the 20th century. Franzen's narrator in Feedom is named Patty Berglund. Patty is not only the mother of the family but also a character the author says is very much like himself. That should have been a tip-off.