I can’t believe it. About half-way through this book, I was ready to put it down because it was becoming so tediously depressing. If there was a theme to this book, it’s that freedom causes depression. Franzen, as he did in The Corrections, draws clear psychological portraits of his characters. The neurotic attitudes of the Berglunds and the people they interact with were so intense I wanted to slap them and tell them to snap out of it. I figured the ending was going to be just as bad. Incredibly, Franzen turned the whole story around and finished with a hopefulness I didn’t see coming. Now that’s masterful writing. Wow.