Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Franny and Zooey by J.D Salinger
I have been meaning to read more of J.D.Salinger’s writing ever since I read Catcher in the Rye which is why I picked up Franny and Zooey in my local library.
Franny and Zooey were originally written as two separate short stories and were part of a series of stories about the Glass family published in the New Yorker magazine. They were published in book form in 1961 and contains the two parts ‘Franny’ and ‘Zooey’.
The first part follows Franny as she meets up with her boyfriend Lane with whom she is planning on spending the weekend. They have lots of things planned but they don’t get to do any of these things as Franny has a breakdown and faints during their first lunch together. Before fainting, Franny spends the majority of this lunch ranting to Lane about how she finds most people egotistical and phony. She seems to have a real hatred towards most people (so far so Catcher in the Rye) She also mentions that she has been reading and is interested in a Jesus Prayer which needs to be endlessly recited and indeed when she faints on her way to the toilet she is still saying the prayer. This is where the first part ends.
The second part picks up a few days later in the Glass household and follows Zooey as he reads a letter from his older brother Buddy which details why the family has difficulty in coping with other people, talks with his mother and then has a theological and personal conversation with Franny who has taken to lying on the sofa since her breakdown.
So really there is little in the way of plot.
The dialogue is very witty and realistic; honestly I’m not sure I’ve ever read more realistic conversations between characters. Up until the end I did find that however great the writing is, it is essentially a couple of young adults’ discussing/arguing/lecturing on philosophy, feeling and spiritual enlightenment for a couple of hundred pages. It might be because I am more of a ‘plot driven’ person but I began to not get bored exactly but I did began to find it a little tiresome and very slow. I stuck with it though and I’m glad I did because I found the last few paragraphs to be quite beautiful. In the last few paragraphs Franny and Zooey discover something and it is worth discovering it with them.
I have only given this book 3/5 for the moment which I think is a little unfair as this is a book which really needs much more savouring and deserves a second reading. But I'll stick with this rating because although I loved the end and the overall message of the book, I didn't enjoy the whole journey there.