Recently I returned from a road trip to Boston, Hartford and other New England destinations. I toured homes owned by Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, Paul Revere and John and Abigail Adams and their descendents. I visited the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and the 1st presidential library set up to honor our 6th president, John Quincy Adams. I also spent time on The Freedom Trail, touring Colonial Revolutionary Boston.
The destinations were a constant reminder of the truths our early forefathers and mothers “held self evident.” When I mixed them with authors like Twain and Stowe, who challenged the lack of freedom caused by slavery and its aftermath, I again was reminded how important the freedoms set forth by the First Amendment have been to the development of these United States.
When on a road trip I always take along an audio book or two to pass the hours on the Interstate highways. It was not consciously on my mind that Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, by its title alone, would be a perfect choice. I chose it because the New York Times labeled it “a masterpiece”, the Washington Post called it the “brilliant, maddening novel” and Oprah chose it for her book club. All of that meant that people would be talking about this book at the library, and my opinion is talk they should. Albeit lengthy it is a fascinating depiction of life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It’s theme of personal freedom, and how the choices we make can lead us to embrace or relinquish that freedom is well worth discussing. I’m going to add my name to the list of those who are highly recommending this book. However it is your right to read or not to read and that is a freedom you should cherish.