I got really bored this week, was the thing. For the last two weeks, I've been pretty much going 'ewwwwww' or 'OMG I hate you' or 'WTF, talking poo?!' but this week I just couldn't summon up the energy to care about anything that even happened. I had high hopes for Denise's life story, but that pretty much boiled down to 'she has an older dude complex because she lost her virginity to an old dude, and also she's probably a lesbian.' Which, I'm sure could have been interesting and complex if the whole time I was reading I wasn't thinking 'I bet this is how Franzen gets himself off...'
As to whether I still like Denise or not... I don't know. I know I don't hate her (she's not even interesting enough to hate) but she definitely has some loose morals going on, and Franzen's included stuff like this: "There was never much satisfaction for Denise in competing with girls" which makes me haaaaaaaate him because OMG obviously girls who are really good at things don't like competing with girls because ALL OTHER GIRLS (except his character) are bad at things. But Denise is good at things because she comes from his brain and he's a man (in fact, he's Jonathan fucking Franzen) so that's ok.
THIS IS NOT HOW WE OPERATE, SHUT YOUR DISGUSTING SEXIST MOUTH I HATE YOU.
Let's see, what else, what else? Well, I'd love to have gone on Denise's food journey across Europe because HOW AWESOME DOES THAT SOUND (minus, you know, the proposition from the married man at the end, WHY DO ALL THE MARRIED MEN WANT TO CHEAT ON THEIR WIVES?!) and also I kind of want to be the head chef at my own restaurant? Minus the shagging the owner's wife, of course. Important question- is Brian even allowed to fire Denise for having sex with his wife? Because... it kind of seems like he isn't? I want to bring the Citizen's Advice Bureau into this.
I don't know, other things probably happened, but I stopped caring about 50 pages in? Oh, wait, Alfred is alive somehow! I completely predict a change of character in the last section, where he nearly died so he's all grateful to be alive. Has to happen. And Chip came back! I'm sure we were all really glad about that, am I right? I really really skimmed the Lithuania stuff, but I did pick up on a couple of things:
"If his sister was on her way out as a lesbian... then she could definitely now use the support of her Foucaultian older brother, but Chip wasn't ready to go home yet, and so he assumed that his memory had deceived him and that her phrase had referred to something else."
Oh really Chip? You're going to do whatever you want instead of being there for another human being? HOW SURPRISING.
"Chip put his arms around his friend... He felt as if he were hugging himself, feeling his own primate shoulder blades, the scratch of his own woolen sweater."As if we needed any more evidence that Chip is in love with himself.
Official theme song for this book.