Franny and Zooey - J.D. Salinger

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Franny and Zooey - J.D. Salinger

Written by the author of The Catcher in the Rye" this book includes the original American text of two stories "Franny" and "Zooey"."

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Review of "Franny and Zooey - J.D. Salinger"

published 03/11/2017 | justarube
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"I Love The Glass Family!"

Franny and Zooey - J.D. Salinger

Franny and Zooey - J.D. Salinger

I recently purchased a copy of J.D Salinger's 'Franny and Zooey' after seeing it recommended on social media by an influential thinker and motivational speaker. I'd last read Salinger when I was in my early twenties after picking up a copy of the well known and well loved novel 'The Catcher In The Rye'. I was underwhelmed by the book and did not pursue any more of the author's work. However I was willing to take a chance on 'Franny and Zooey' after seeing it praised by someone whom I greatly admire and whose intellectual guidance I eagerly accept.

I'd never heard of 'Franny and Zooey' before so I started reading the book without knowing anything about the book or the characters or how the work is perceived as part of Salinger's oeuvre. I was surprised to find out that 'Franny and Zooey' are in fact two different stories. 'Franny' is the shortest of the two pieces whilst I believe 'Zooey' is officially a novella. The stories are connected through the characters with Franny appearing in both works. The two titular characters are actually brother and sister and they belong to the notorious Glass family. Salinger has actually written several more pieces featuring characters from this large and complex family unit. The family also appear in stories from Salinger's 'Nine Stories' and in 'Raise High The Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour'.

If you are intending to dive into the lives of the Glass family I'd say starting with 'Franny and Zooey' is a great idea. It certainly made me want to read more about them and I have since purchased 'Raise High The Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour' to further explore the Glass family dynamic. One thing I wouldn't advise doing is researching the Glass family on the internet. When I did so I discovered that many literary critics lambaste the family because they are so super intelligent, precocious and precious. One critic even suggested that everyone who encounters these characters will most certainly hate them. I have to say that this is most definitely not the case for me. I actually find all of the Glass family extremely fascinating, amusing at times, heartbreaking at others. Admittedly the Glass family seem far too insular and so erudite that it has become, at times, more of a curse for them than a blessing but their behaviours and their inner thoughts are still highly intruiging and they are certainly not characters that I could ever dislike.

'Franny' is a lovely piece focusing on college student Franny who is meeting her boyfriend one night for a meal. The story originally appeared in 1955 but was later published alongside 'Zooey' as one whole book in 1961. It is quickly apparent that something is deeply wrong with Franny and that this crisis is either a physical one or a philosophical one. The story, when consumed as just one piece without reading 'Zooey', is open to interpretation as to what exactly is going on with the lead character. I love Salinger's attention to detail when delineating his characters and there were moments as I read this piece when I forgot I was even reading and I felt like I was actually the third member of the party at the dinner table. Salinger's language is rich, elaborate and satisfying although at times I found it slightly challenging. I liked the sensation of not quite understanding the situation but being guided towards potential solutions by the author. It's certainly a clever and insightful story and one I enjoyed reading very much.

I enjoyed reading 'Zooey' even more than 'Franny' as it expands on the first story and opens up the world of this very unique and curious family. Franny and Zooey are the youngest of a large clan and all of brothers and sisters were once child stars who featured on a famous radio show when they were very young. The radio show was called 'It's A Wise Child' and it showcased the incredible knowledge and talents of this group of well educated and intellectually gifted children. The radio show is often mentioned as if this period of time was in fact the apex of the Glass family in terms of their status in the world or of their togetherness as a family. The show generated much income and enough to send all seven of the children through university.

I should probably point out that 'Zooey' is in fact a male character, something that didn't occur to me immediately due to the fact this name has become outdated as a name for boys. Zooey is a rather playfully arrogant, over-confident young man who we first find contemplating something secretive and meaningful in an old tattered letter, the contents of which are eventually exposed to the reader. I personally love Zooey's interaction with his mother in this story. The conversations between the two characters feel very authentic and Salinger's ability to bring a fictional character to life is incredible. No detail is forgotten or brought to the page without absolute conviction. It's a masterpiece of writing and I personally feel that both of these works are more accomplished than 'The Catcher In The Rye' for which Salinger is best known.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys high quality literature. 'Franny' is obviously crafted to be a stand-alone story so it works as a singular piece as well as being connected to 'Zooey'. If you enjoy short stories and novellas these works will satisfy as they take very little time to consume. If you have previously enjoyed 'The Catcher In The Rye' then this is definitely the next step in exploring this author.

I have a Back Bay Books by Little, Brown and Company copy of this and it contains 201 pages. I paid around £1 for it online and you can pick this up rather cheaply at sites like Amazon in the UK where the book is currently available from around £2 used or £6 new for Penguin published copies.

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Comments on this review

  • Secre published 13/11/2017
    Sounds interesting
  • Angel19819 published 10/11/2017
    VH
  • siberian-queen published 08/11/2017
    vh
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Product Information : Franny and Zooey - J.D. Salinger

Manufacturer's product description

Written by the author of The Catcher in the Rye" this book includes the original American text of two stories "Franny" and "Zooey"."

Product Details

EAN: 9780140237528

Type: Fiction

Genre: Modern Fiction

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Title: Franny and Zooey

Author: J.D. Salinger

ISBN: 0140237526

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Listed on Ciao since: 29/09/2008