Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Morning Reading: Jonathan Franzen in the New Yorker

"Agreeable" by Jonathan Franzen

If Patty hadn’t been an atheist, she might have thanked the good Lord for school athletic programs, because they basically saved her life and gave her a chance to realize herself as a person. She was especially grateful to Sandra Mosher at North Chappaqua Middle School, Elaine Carver and Jane Nagel at Horace Greeley High School, and Ernie and Rose Salvatore at the Gettysburg Girls Basketball Camp. It was from these wonderful coaches that Patty learned discipline, patience, focus, teamwork, and the ideals of good sportsmanship that helped make up for her morbid competitiveness and low self-esteem.

Patty grew up in Westchester County, New York. She was the oldest of four children, the other three of whom were more like what her parents had been hoping for. She was notably Larger than everybody else in the family, also Less Unusual, also measurably Dumber. Not actually dumb but relatively dumber. She grew up to be five feet nine and a half, which was almost the same height as her brother and numerous inches taller than her sisters, and sometimes she wished she could have gone ahead and been six feet, since she was never going to fit into the family anyway. Being able to see the basket better and to post up in traffic and to rotate more freely on defense might have given her a somewhat less vicious competitive streak, leading to a happier life post-college; probably not, but it was interesting to think about. By the time she got to the collegiate level, she was usually one of the shorter players on the floor, which in a funny way reminded her of her position in her family and helped keep her adrenaline at peak levels.

To read the rest, click here.


Robbi said...


Anonymous said...

ok, so i just read "freedom" (on kindle! what a revelation that has been), and it's genious, franzen is a genious! my favorite novel ever!

Rebel Girl said...


Good to hear from you! I am saving "Freedom" for my holiday break...

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