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“Everyone should be told this about fame before they start pursuing it: you will never trust anyone again. You will be a kind of damned person.”

Purity ~ Jonathan Franzen

Luckily for me, I dipped into this book without a full realization of all the things people have to say about Franzen, the author, and not necessarily his books. There are two distinct camps apparently; of Franzen lovers and Franzen haters, because of his highly publicized public persona. I, on the other hand, will backtrack indeed and read his other books. Despite how disappointed I was with this one’s ending.

Purity is the name of one of the main characters, or rather Pip, as she is more commonly known by. Was this a purposeful Dickensian reference? Both Dickens’ Pip and Franzen’s Pip have daddy issues, believe money and fortune can solve a lot of their world’s problems and have secret inheritance lurking around the corner.

Without going into more detail; Pip is a young girl who has never known her father and has a staggering student loan to pay off. Her mother is a middle-aged hippie-ish character and is guarding the secret of her father’s identity like the grail. Franzen writes this book, which is essentially a tale of two families, through the perspective of three main characters.

Why you should read it:

  • For Franzen’s easy to read contemporary-literary prose
  • His maze-like psychologising which is heart racing at junctures
  • For the drama of family dysfunction

Why you shouldn’t read it:

  • Franzen’s strange view of women. This book is strikingly evidently written by a man
  • For the lack of sympathetic characters
  • For the sheer size of it!