Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Review: Franny and Zooey, by JD Salinger

Franny and Zooey is a short book. In fact, it was originally published as two short stories in the New Yorker—“Franny” in 1955 and “Zooey” in 1957, and then published together in 1961. Franny and Zooey Glass are brother and sister—Franny’s a 20-year old college student having a “nervous breakdown” as she explores Eastern religion, and Zooey’s a 25-year-old actor who still lives at home. Bookending the two is the rest of the Glass family: the five other children, who we never met, and Mrs. Glass, who talks in italics.

Salinger wasn’t one for “action,” per se—there’s a lot of saying, but not doing, in his novels. He tends to over-describe things—he even lists the entire contents of a medicine cabinet. Sometimes this can get long-winded and pointless, and it was easy for me to see why Catcher in the Rye overshadows this book. Franny and Zooey explore religion to a great extent in these stories, and their philosophizing went over my head in places. The dialogue is neurotic at times and fast-paced. Overall, not my cup of tea.


Matt said...

I dived right into this book after Catcher In the Rye and to be honest it was a bit of a disappointment. The breakdown thing is just too much for so short of a book.

Trish said...

Someone mentioned Franny and Zooey as one of their favorite classics recently (for the challenge). I read Nine Stories a few months ago and just didn't get it. :) This one is sitting on my shelf so I'll get to it one day--I had no idea about the religion theme! Sounds really interesting.

reading1001 said...

I haven't read anything by J.D. Salinger yet (not even The Catcher in the Rye)! So maybe I'll try starting with this one, since you say it's shorter.

I think the fact that the mom talks only in italics is funny.

But I agree that sometimes books are more enjoyable when there is more action though.

eat2evolve said...

Either you get it or you don't.


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