Franny and Zoe
By: J.D. Salinger
Paige’s Rating: (3) of 5 Stars
Recommended for: Fans of Salinger or American Lit.
The author writes: Franny came out in The New Yorker/EM Zooey. Both stories are early, critical entries in a narrative series I’m doing about a family of settlers in twentieth-century New York, the Glasses.
I snatched this book up in Istanbul because it was small and easy to carry for long bus trips, and because it was Salinger. Being a huge fan of The Catcher in the Rye, I was hoping for some similar Salinger nuances in Franny and Zooey. I was satisfied and disappointed, all in one.
The first part of the book is Franny and Salinger is right on par with the theme of phoniness that one experiences when reading Cather in the Rye. During a date with Lane, Franny begins an inner monologue and outer dialogue that I swear I have had on other dates. She criticizes Lane’s friends, stating that they, “…look like everyone else and talk and dress and act like everyone else.” While doing this; however, she criticizes herself for being so bitchy yet she can’t seem to help herself. She sits there, ashing her cigarette and poking at her food. Salinger paints the picture perfectly. She’s completely exhausted of elite society and people thinking highly of their selves. She’s bored and disgusted with Lane. And yet, she doesn’t know what to do about it. I could not only imagine Franny sitting there, but thought that at some time in my early 20’s, I was a Franny.
The second half of the book is Zooey, told of course, by his point of view. Zooey is Franny’s narcissist brother, who at the invasive prompting of his mother, decides to talk to his sister as she lies on the couch in a post mental break-down state. Again, Salinger paints the picture of Zooey fabulously, but maybe too well. I don’t like Zooey. He’s a pretentious bastard. And the way he speaks to his sister is most of the time, much too wordy. I find myself asking both Zooey and Salinger to, “get to the point already!” He drones on and on about his philosophy on life, which seems ironic at times.
So I have no idea what to give this book, other than a 3. Franny was perfect but Zooey left a lot to be desired. Salinger was probably going for a person who does a lot of exaggerated lecturing, but in the end, it was too much for me.