The RF team was discussing Jonathan Franzen's new book, Freedom (none of us have read it yet - just read the reviews). Here is an excerpt from the NY Times book review that caught our attention:
"The Berglunds really are headed for disaster, though not because there’s something wrong with them. They are, after all, “fully the thing that was just starting to happen to the rest of the street” — and much of America, too. They resemble any number of well-meaning couples for whom “the home” has become a citadel of aspirational self-regard and family life a sequence of ennobling rites, each act of over parenting wreathed in civic import — the “issues” involving cloth versus disposable diapers, or the political rectitude of the Boy Scouts, or the imperative to recycle batteries — and the long siege of the day heroically capped by “Goodnight Moon” and a self- congratulatory glass of zinfandel."
From the NY Times Book review:
"At 18, Strauss was behind the wheel of his Oldsmobile with some high school friends in tow, on their way to play miniature golf near his suburban Long Island home. It was a month before the end of his senior year in high school — a time of optimism, as Strauss writes: “Your future rarely feels so present as it does in this June of your prime.” He was set to go to Tufts in the fall. The day was clear, visibility excellent. He drove the legal speed limit. He wasn’t drunk or high. He saw a group of girls riding bicycles on the side of the road, and in the next moment, inexplicably, one swerved across two lanes and in front of his car. Her name was Celine Zilke, and she was 16 years old, a junior at his high school.
“So few of our days contain actions that are irrevocable. Our lives are designed not to allow for anything irrevocable,” Strauss writes. But on that spring day, the irrevocable slammed into the worlds of the 18-year-old boy and the 16-year-old girl. Life changed in a flash so fast that he would never be able to summon the moment fully. She was dead, and he had killed her.