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.
"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...'"ReplyDelete
I looked it up, and Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state (I think most states in the U.S. are), which means an employer can fire any employee for any reason, without notice. So yeah, he can fire her.
I'm still going WTF every other page, but at this point I'm just really looking forward to finishing this ASAP and putting it behind me. Actually I lie, I'm going to be mocking this book and Franzen for YEARS. But definitely happy to be finishing it this week. And for book that's supposed to be about a woman's one last Christmas with her family, it's putting me in a distinctly NOT Christmas mood.
Whaaaaaaaaat, your employment laws are 'I don't like you anymore so I will fire you'? Damn, US. You crazy.Delete
I am sooooooo excited to be done with it! To be fair, I don't mind the actual reading of it (it's not too, I don't know, taxing. Or smart.) but I just hate everyone SO MUCH. I'm thinking I'm going to finish it and then donate it to somewhere RIGHT AWAY (even though it seems mean to the poor unsuspecting purchaser...)
"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..."ReplyDelete
While sitting in a small room filled with international editions of his own book and signed photos of himself. Wait, I think I'm getting him muddled up with Gilderoy Lockhart.
I WAY prefer Lockhart to Franzen because I am a fan of people who are in love with themselves getting their comeuppance (constantly). THIS HAS NOT HAPPENED TO FRANZEN, but yeah, I assume he needs a picture of himself nearby to get himself off.Delete
I found last week A LOT more boring, but maybe that's because of how looooong it was and that god damn poo scene.ReplyDelete
That quote about Chip and Denise. Man it was awful. Like we all know how rubbish he is as a person but that just took the cake. It also made me sick in his little section where he was basically patting himself on the back for hiring hookers who weren't underage. Bravo dude, you still had to pay for sex but at least she wasn't still going through puberty!
It's probably my dislike of this book, but in any scene like that I always feel like it's Franzens biases and prejudices coming through.
But the poooooo! So ridiculous and bad that it's good... No? No, you're right. But I genuinely whizzed through last week's easier just because Franzen actually made an effort to make things interesting because he wasn't writing about a woman? YEAH, I WENT THERE!Delete
Chip is the wooooooooorst. Worst human being ever. I'm glad he's not ACTUALLY a human being, you know?!
See I only struggled in the unnecessary Brian/Robin section this week *shrugs*Delete
Although I was also so angry during the Gary/Caroline section which probably added to the difficulty of the last week's read.
Ahahahaa that last gif. Yes, it fits for the book so well.ReplyDelete
Last week was my "I'm zoning out while reading it" section. Because of the poo. I did zone out when we went back to Chip and Lithuania which I reaaaaally don't care about it.
I totallllllly zoned out when Chip was in Lithuania. Just couldn't be bothered with any of that. 'omg I love this dude who looks like me, how surprising!' Idiot.Delete
"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.ReplyDelete
ARGHHH HULK SMASH. That part is the worst.
Fucking Franzen. Sometimes I imagine he's reading our posts and feeling proud for screwing with us so thoroughly, but then I remember that he's allergic to the internet. Oh well.
That is my least least least favourite thing that male authors do ever. It's like, 'Ok, I'll write this one female character to please the women, and all I have to do to write a strong female is to make her exactly like a man, and basically as good as men? Ok, cool.' It is the LAZIEST and also, OMG, how are boys better at music than girls? Like, I think it would be a vaguely valid thing to say if Denise was, like, racing against boys because boys tend to be able to run faster because testosterone, but music?! NO.Delete
I'm really sad I don't have Franzen for a blog reader. That would make my LIFE (terrible).
Ha! Yes. Set Sweeney Todd loose on this crowd.ReplyDelete
I'm so excited to be done this, too. I've liked reading it for the most part, at least Chip is actively fun to hate, but here are many many hundreds of pages that I'd love to rip out. Economic history of Lithuania? No. Not necessary.
I can't tell if Franzen sucks at writing ladies, or if he was trying to write sucky ladies.
"Hello sir, come over here and let me shave you! *kills Chip, bakes him in an inedible pie*." There, don't we all feel better?Delete
I haven't hated ALL the reading of this, to be fair. Just this last week I was like 'noooo you've done about 10 things I can't stand' and I just NO.
I think Franzen WAS trying to make Denise sucky, but I also think there are things he's done basically unconsciously, like the 'she only likes competing against boys' thing, because of COURSE Franzen thinks that the only way to be a strong woman is to compete against boys. Of COURSE he does. Fuck him.