While I was ho-hum on the storyline, I was in awe of the writing in this book. Franzen has a gift for dialogue. I actually didn't really buy the whole story about Walter and the Mountain Mining scenario, but did like the Environmentalism aspect and was kind of captivated by the political stance that Walter and Richard took, thanks to the mind of Johnathan Franzen. Even Patty writing about herself in the third person was interesting. Odd, but interesting. Another review considered this a poor choice of reading for the week before Christmas, calling it bleak. However, I finished it on Christmas Day, albeit while spending a "non-Christmas" Christmas in Vegas and found that the ending actually cheered me up!