This book explores the limits on personal freedom within a "free" society. There are always family and cultural responsibilities that limit our freedom and living the way one chooses comes with a price tag. If Walter wants to save songbirds he has to make some ugly compromises. Joey won't become the successful, wealthy Republican he yearns to be without making moral accommodations. Patty tries to be the super mum her mother never was but in doing so forfeits self-fulfillment.
Franzen has painted a vivid picture of the travails experienced by the middle class American family set against a backdrop of environmental degradation, the Iraq War and a culture of greed. I had high expectations of Freedom. It didn't let me down.