Alright you guys… It’s #monthofFranzy post day! Thanks again to the fabulous Alley for hosting this for us :-)
I’m going to be super spoiler-y, people not readalonging, so beware. I can’t help it ya’ll… I’m going to be so SO ranty in this post. Because, are you kidding me? This section consisted of Gary and his family, and then Al and Enid. Let’s start with the Gary parts.
At first, it wasn’t too bad. Gary’s constant reference to serotonin levels and psychology terminology was making me a bit eye-rolly, but whatever. I started to dislike Gary when he was acting like a total dick on the phone with his father, about the offer from Axon. Like I get his frustration, but at the same time, it really is none of your business. I liked his wife, Caroline, for about 2 pages. But MAN, they were just horrible to each other, weren’t they?
I initially liked Caroline because it was cool that she worked part-time without really having to, and that it was for that Children’s Defense something-or-other. But then it’s shown that she’s emotionally manipulative, lazy, and just kind of a bitch. I get that she hates her mother-in-law and that Gary promised her they’d never go to St. Jude for the holidays again, but it’s been almost a decade and he’s asking for ONE exception to make his mother happy before he presumably takes control of everything and sells their house. That’s a reasonable thing to ask of your spouse, and she was such a total child about it. UGH.
“Basically, I think your brother’s got the right idea. Here’s a sweet, smart, funny man who’s honest enough to say what he can and can’t tolerate in the way of get-togethers.”
And of course Gary was self-pitying, spineless, sexist, and a developing alcoholic. Also, on page 225 the thought of his wife crying gives his “dead mouse” (how the hell is that a nickname for penis?!?) some excitement and he gets lusty. What in the name of fuck… So yeah, he sucks. I don’t hate him as much as I do Chip, but he’s still a giant asshole.
So now let’s discuss the train wreck that is Al and Enid. We learn a bit of their history – how Enid sought out a working man so that she could have an easy, happy, well-cared for life. HA. That plan really worked out. Al was an emotionally and verbally abusive dickwad to her throughout their marriage, even when she was pregnant. I see-saw between pity and disgust for Enid. On the one hand, her husband treated her like crap and I don’t think she did anything to deserve it. On the other hand… she let it happen. Instead of fighting back and demanding that he treat her with more respect and affection, she cried and took what he gave her. So basically their marriage was just horrible, and now she’s stuck taking care of him. She still love him, I guess, and it just all sucks.
And then of course, the part that everyone was talking about on Twitter while I was getting my stupid teeth cleaned at the dentist – the talking poo. TALKING SHIT. That happened.
I really, really want to know how some people can say that Franzen is the next Great American Novelist. I want to punch him. I wish he was on Twitter so I could tag him in tweets about how much he sucks. This is a man who has created extremely unlikable characters, seems hell-bent on making some really strange sexual references and analogies, and wrote a hallucinating scene about talking crap, and people are actually praising him for it? Al could have hallucinated literally about ANYTHING else and I would’ve felt bad for him (as bad as I can feel for a racist). As it were, I was so focused on the WTF-ness of the situation that I didn’t even care – I just wanted to be over with this long, drawn-out, never-ending section.
So, there we have it. I’m sorry, because I always feel like the angry one who hates the readalong books… but DAMN. On the plus side, it’s nice to be able to use so many of the angry GIFs I had saved on the computer, so at least it’s fun bitching about it with ya’ll :-) And who knows, maybe Denise will turn out to be a great character… but I’m not counting on it.
So… what do you guys think? Did anybody actually enjoy the talking turd?