Saturday, March 27, 2010

Review: Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

Franny and ZooeyTitle: Franny and Zooey

Author: J.D. Salinger

Pages: 202

Source: Personal library

Rating: 6/10

Challenges: Read 'n' Review Challenge

First Sentence: "Though brilliantly sunny, Saturday morning was overcoat weather again, not just topcoat weather, as it had been all week and as everyone had hoped it would stay for the big weekend -- the weekend of the Yale game."

Summary (From The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature):

Volume containing two interrelated stories by J.D. Salinger, published in book form in 1961. The stories, originally published in The New Yorker magazine, concern Franny and Zooey Glass, two members of the family that was the subject of most of Salinger's short fiction. Franny is an intellectually precocious late adolescent who tries to attain spiritual purification by obsessively reiterating the "Jesus prayer" as an antidote to the perceived superficiality and corruptness of life. She subsequently suffers a nervous breakdown. In the second story, her next older brother, Zooey, attempts to heal Franny by pointing out that her constant repetition of the "Jesus prayer" is as self-involved and egotistical as the egotism against which she rails.

My Two Cents:

This one just didn't do it for me. It took me so long to read those 202 pages, it was ridiculous.

I've met the Glass family before, in a reading of Nine Stories in high school. I really don't remember much about them or the short stories, and I kind of wish I did. I feel as if it might have helped me out with Franny and Zooey in some way.

Much of my problem with this one, I think, was that nothing happens, not really. Sure, in the "Franny" section, there's lunch and some breaks to the bathroom, but the "Zooey" section is largely just a long conversation while he sits in the bath. I usually can handle nothing-happens novels, but this one was just too much for me.

I think a lot of my problem came in the almost relentless repetition of concepts. Franny and Zooey are incredibly bright, and their brothers fed their blossoming intellects with all sorts of precocious ideas; Franny thinks everyone else is shallow; Zooey thinks Franny is being dramatic and needs to snap out of it. Over and over and over. For 202 pages. If I hadn't spent my hard-earned money on this one, I would've thrown it out the truck window on the highway on the way to Nashville. Seriously.

I didn't like anyone in this book, and that's probably another thing that made this a difficult read for me. I thought Franny was just being over-dramatic, and I thought Zooey was a jerk. Plain and simple.

Don't get me wrong, Salinger was a great writer. The prose is about the only thing that propelled me through the book. I knew that there had to be some point to this, even if I wasn't really seeing much of one, because it was the Almighty Salinger. But his writing is as rich as ever.

I think I'll stick to a re-read of Catcher in the Rye if I want anymore Salinger. This was not for me.

4 comments:

Book Monster said...

I really hate when nothing happens in books, and I agree you usually can read through it. I'm sorry that this book just didn't do it. But thanks for the honest review!!

reederreads said...

I read this book a couple of years back and like you, it was hard for me to get into...

Nymeth said...

Sorry to hear this didn't work for you! I loved all the Glass family books, but I can see why they're not everyone's cup of tea.

Aths said...

I've been curious about this book for some time, though I had no idea at all what it was about. Sorry it didn't work out for you. I can see how characters who do nothing at all can be a bit of a turn-off!

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