Let’s play a game. Tell me the first words that come to mind upon reading the name “Jonathan Franzen.”
Ok, time’s up.
My answer was “lightning rod.” I’m sure a lot of you thought other, possibly meaner things; or maybe they were ferocious words of defense. “Genuis.” “Hell-of-a-writer,” possibly. “Victim,” even.
Whatever the case may be, the man who wrote The Corrections, Freedom, and Purity, who famously got in a feud with Oprah and said J.D. Salinger underwhelmed him, elicits strong opinions. One reddit author said he would have nothing to do with Franzen after reading the following words from Franzen: “the anxiety of coupons.”
And now, one very droll woman, Amy Collier, has decided to take Franzen’s contentious popularity and make fun of it—on Kickstarter. Her amazing campaign is titled “Finance My Reading of Jonathan Franzen.” Her stated goal: “$5,000 or more.”
But hold up, that’s just for Freedom. If you’d like Amy Collier to read The Corrections, she’s upped the ante to $10,000. For Purity, $25,000; and Breakup Stories? That will be 100,000 big ones, please.
“You couldn’t pay me to read anything by Jonathan Franzen,” Collier writes on her Kickstarter campaign page. “Just kidding, if someone wants to pay me $5,000 or more to read one of his books and then make fun of it a lot I will.”
She goes on to explain that her initial low-ball Craigslist ask was $1,000; too paltry, she was told. Collier, the wise woman she is, listened, and has responded with this gloriously outrageous ask.
You might remember that the start of this week was International Women’s Day, and it was this that inspired Collier to such entrepreneurial heights. Her greatest risk? “Potentially reaching my goal and having to read a book by Jonathan Franzen.”
As of this writing, Collier has three backers. They’ve pledged $31; thankfully, she still has 29 days to get to $5k, or more.
Will you back her? Please do. A good joke is hard to find; and talent like this should be rewarded.