Friday 11 October 2013

"She was so much a personality and so little anything else that even staring straight at her he had no idea what she really looked like."

The Corrections! It's not terrible, am I right? I did tell all of you last week that Franzen, he's not so bad at the writing, so am I feeling a teeny bit smug right now?
A little bit. But that might just be this book rubbing off on me. Or rubbing UP on me. It's pretty gross, is what I'm saying.

Anyway! Things to discuss. So far, I kind of hate Enid, I definitely hate Chip (in my Franzen experience, each character gets a focus on them, and I'm kind of hoping Chip's is over) and I basically like Denise and Alfred. Oh, poor sweet ill Alfred, who actually I've just remembered is a big racist, so actually maybe I don't like him... I think a thing Franzen has done really well already is exploring the complexity of family relationships- Enid has a problem with Denise because she's not living the life she expects for women, Chip has a problem with Alfred because something something childhood trauma, Alfred and Denise are like one faction and Enid is kind of out there on her own... It's interesting, anthropologically speaking, is what I'm saying.
But, more importantly, let's be mean about Chip. I think it was Australian Kayleigh who said first that he seems like the fictional equivalent of Franzen, and if we're talking about how terrible they both are, then I'm going with HELL YEAH he is. I just... What is WRONG with him? Because, I mean, there's this:
"'Oh, Chip... Your script starts off with a six-page lecture about anxieties of the phallus in Tudor drama!'"
Of COURSE it does. Of COURSE. Because, let's face it, Chip is the kind of guy who sniffs couches to try and get a 'vaginal tang' (NO) and whilst he may have a Phd, he's also incredibly emotionally stunted when it comes to women, probably because of, let's say, his mother. That seems like the direction we're going with this. If there's one silver lining to Chip, it's that even Franzen doesn't exactly idolise him or try to make him seem anything less than pathetic- there are a lot of things wrong with his life (because he's an ARSEHOLE) and that's kind of the point of him, I think.

Hmmm, what else..? Well, it's pretty ironic that Chip's all like 'BLARGH capitalism and advertising and everything is evil,' when basically all he thinks about is the acquisition of money. What are you going to use that money for, Chipster? Feeding starving children and saving the rainforests? Loljk it's actually just to get some more fanny.*
I actually meant to start a list of all the different descriptions of vagina in this book, but I always read it without paper or even digital paper (you know, my phone) near me, so I've kind of lost track... But there's 'an affectionate warm rabbit', 'pussy like a seasoned baseball glove' (that one ESPECIALLY horrified me because I HATE the word pussy. Hate it.) and, if I remember rightly, something about a quim. Not to mention the boobs! Just to be clear, this isn't me being a prude, it's just me being like 'GOD, Chip, stop being so GROSS' because did I mention that I hate him? I reaaaaaaally do.

So I realise that I just said all the bad things, but really, I am genuinely enjoying myself with The Corrections. I'm enjoying hating Chip, I'm enjoying trying to decipher mother-daughter and father-daughter relationships, I'm looking forward to meeting the other brother (it's going to happen- I fear he might be even more of an arse than Chip!) and just generally for more of this book. It's really pretty good, in spite of all those things I just said. Yeah.

*Fanny as in vagina... I've just realised that you lot are mostly American and fanny is, you know, less gross over there. Damn.


  1. AN AFFECTIONATE WARM RABBIT! Ohhhhhh my god, that nearly made coffee come out of my nose. Unfortunately, my stepdad gave up on this book after about 60 pages, and I happened to read more yesterday about how Franzen's a gigantic asshat (and how his new book's one giant dull ego-trip), so... no interest in reading this one for the time being. However, I look forward to many more almost-drowning-in-my-own-beverage moments in the weeks to come, as you read it for me... :D

  2. Maybe I don't understand sports but do you *want* a vagina to be like a baseball mitt? Is that a good thing?!

    I've loved hating Chip but I'm hoping we move on from him soon. Although his brother sounds really boring, so I'll probably be begging for more couch sniffing soon. No wait, that will never happen because I'm TRAUMATISED FOR LIFE.

    1. Isn't one of the key features of a "seasoned" baseball glove that it's worn in. Is that what he's going for there?

    2. Hahahaha, I love that "maybe I don't understand sports" is the hold up here. You're so diplomatic, Kayleigh.

  3. "But, more importantly, let's be mean about Chip." And that's the summary for my post.

    I don't hate Enid yet. I think she's terrible sure, but in a way that is entertaining me. Probably because all of my focus was on how terrible Chip is.

  4. Chip is the WORST. He's gross and smarmy and ridiculous and I just want to punch him. Like so hard. UGH.

    But that being said... I'm not LOVING the writing, but it isn't as bad as I feared, I guess because it's mildly entertaining hating a bunch of characters. And some of the writing is nice and there are good lines, and then there are some lines that make me think that Franzen is a douche who tries too hard.

  5. I love that title quote you used. That was the point where I started really enjoying the book.

    Is fanny actually used to refer to vaginas in the UK? (What the hell, Google Chrome is underlining "vaginas" as not a word. The world has more than one vagina, Google. What does it want? Vagini? Vagines? This is madness.) ANYWAY. I've always heard it to mean bum. This is why these readalongs are important.

    To sum up: Chip is a wiener and this book is pretty fun.

    1. Ahahaha, Chrome prefers something fancier than vaginas (which btw, Firefox recognizes)

    2. Fanny refers to vagina here in Aus too, it used to make me crack up as a kid when Americans would say they fell on their fanny or wore a fanny pack.

    3. Hahahahahaha, oh my god, fanny pack.

  6. So this comment is quite late because I've been away for the last week (I will rejoin the posting on Friday!). Now onto my point:

    AHEM "affectionate warm rabbit" had even more to it that made it wrong:

    “But from her underpants, which to his relief were delicate and sheer—distinctly gendered—an affectionate warm rabbit came springing, a kicking, wet autonomous warm animal.”

    It's not the rabbit metaphor that weirds me out so much, but the image of a vagina kicking. Like, what is it kicking at? Is his penis getting in on this kicking? Is this just one big game of sexy kickball going on in their pants?