Category: Science & Mathematics
- Type: Paperback
- Pages: 208 pages
- ISBN: none
- ASIN: 9788420674285
- Edition Language: English
I am a huge JD Salinger fan, and Im one of those people whos read Catcher in the Rye like 200 times, several times a year since I was about twelve. I buy into every cliche said about it: it changed my life, it made me want to write, it validated my own teen angst, Salinger captures teen-speak amazingly well, Holden Caulfield is vulnerable and wise, a kid-hero, etc. I have such an emotional attachment to the book that I find it hard to tolerate much criticism of it. Case in point: I recently came across an article written by Jonathan Yardley in 2004 for the Washington Post entitled J.D.
Salingers Holden Caulfield, Aging Gracelessly. One of the best quotes from the piece:Rereading The Catcher in the Rye after all those years was almost literally a painful experience: The combination of Salingers execrable prose and Caulfields jejune narcissism produced effects comparable to mainlining castor oil.Ouch.
Double ouch because I had to look up jejune. This article prompted me to delve deeper into the Salinger canon, and I resurfaced holding Franny & Zooey. Yardley may have prompted me to question my devotion, but this book cemented what I already knew: JD Salinger is a wonderful writer and his characters are the written equivalent of crack.
You just cant get enough.Franny & Zooey is one of several books/short stories written about the Glass family. There are seven Glass kids, all of whom were, at various points, panelists on a radio quiz show with the best name ever: Its A Wise Child. Franny & Zooey focuses on the two youngest siblings, hence the title, who are both in the midst of emotional and existential breakdowns. Franny, away at college in Boston, has read a book called The Way of the Pilgrim, which has instilled in her an obsession with the concept of praying without ceasing.
Suddenly, everything around her is meaningless, she cant study or eat or sleep, and returns to New York to recouperate. Zooey is a sometimes-working actor, determined to help his sister.The book touches on familiar Salinger-esque themes, including relgious devotion/fanaticism, kids vs. adults, a potentially meaningless world, etc. This book explores religion in an engaging, relatable way. Frannys qustions are universal and Zooeys answers are valid.Authorities on the Glass Family will appreciate the insight into the unit, particularly into eldest brothers Seymour (who at that point has already committed suicide) and Buddy, who narrates the story.
Zooey blames them for using himself and Franny as philosphical guinea pigs, pumping them full from the time they were toddlers with vast and varied dogma simply to see what would stick. All of that said, I think the most important thing about this book, and all of Salingers books, is its pure, joyful readability. Franney & Zooey contains passages that are absolutely HILARIOUS, specifically the extensive conversation between Zooey and his nagging mother, Bessie, that takes place in the bathroom.
I was laughing out loud throughout. Hes been called the voice of several generations, but Salingers ability to maintain belly-laugh-worthy humor while touching on such dark themes might be the most notable (and most underappreciated) thing about him.