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.