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Book Name: Franny and Zooey

Author: J. D. Salinger

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Overall Rating: (3.95/5) View all reviews (total 44 reviews)

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. --The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature--This text refers to theMass Market Paperbackedition.


Coming Of Age In The 1950s Night

by Alfred Johnson

As a person who came of age in the 1960s filled to the brim with all kind of angst and alienation about a world that I had not created, that I had no say in creating, and that did not look like anybody was going to ask my opinion of the only thing that I can think of that might be worse is to have faced those conditions in the hard dead red scare cold war 1950s night. And that is the fate that befalls the characters, particular the Franny of the title, in J.D. Salinger’s lesser classic Franny and Zooey (his main classic being Catcher in the Rye) about youthful angst and alienation in that decade.Of course every thoughtful coming of age generation, or at least some members of it are going to face the hard coming of age reality that the world is less than perfect and that members of it, members who cross one’s path, are not going to measure up, are going to be a disappointment, are going to have feet of clay. And that is the fate that befalls the main character here Franny Glass (the main character except the “elephant in the room” the deceased brother Seymour) who finds out, find out after a tough childhood in the spotlight, that all that things that mattered to her school, boyfriend, artistic endeavors cannot fulfill that gnawing want that she has developed as she turns the ripe old age of twenty.Yes, Franny is caught up in that search for some spiritual meaning, some method, some system that will give some meaning in an apparently meaningless world. And she drives herself, her mother and her brother, Zooey to distraction in trying to get her to snap out of the funk she is in. Along the way Salinger investigates religion, Christ, truth-seekers, charlatans, children survivors of stunted childhood, perfidy and about twelve other maladies that before any youth can figure out he or she must confront. Salinger made a writing career out of such investigations, and wrote well about the whole phenomenon. Kudos.

One of the Best Ever

by Andrew Corsa "Reader"

This book is great. Salinger's writing is beautiful. His characters are interesting, intricate, human, and often intense. He doesn't need crazy action sequences or ballyhoo. His characters merely converse with each other, and yet his book is more engaging than almost any action novel, and it is certainly more thought provoking.This book has changed me. It didn't change my life in any dramatic or wild way, but, having read it, I am now subtly different. For one, I realized that I had slipped into some of the dubious thinking that Zooey describes in the book. Second, I now view literature in a slightly different light. This book certainly stands out in the crowd. Finally, I feel inspired by this book's high quality - I feel slightly elevated. This probably doesn't make sense to you, who are reading this review. Maybe it will after you read the book.I wholeheartedly recommend this book, although I still think "Catcher in the Rye" is better.Finally, if you have read The Bible and a little of Epictetus' work, then you'll appreciate certain passages of "Franny and Zooey" a bit more.

Highly recommended

by Andrew McCaffrey

I really enjoyed FRANNY & ZOOEY. The characters in this book are amazingly true to life and very believable. Each viewpoint expressed has its own merits and its own drawbacks, but each side is treated with a certain amount of respect. In far too many other books, the author's own philosophies will get in the way of the story and skew it in such a manner that one argument gets though virtually unscathed, while the other one ends up looking remarkably shaky. The person with the "correct" ideas is shown to be thoughtful and wise while the other ends up looking like a close-minded jerk. Here, however, J. D. Salinger was able to show both sides, warts and all, while letting both Franny and Zooey's viewpoint remain intact and stay true to their character. The discussion they have is quite realistic and touches on real subjects - taking the higher and nobler aspects of religious and theology and bringing them into one's everyday life is something that a lot of people have thought about but not everyone has done.I highly recommend these two stories. They're real and they're believable.

Lord Salinger, have mercy on me

by A. T. A. Oliveira "A. T. A. Oliveira"

J.D. Salinger is one of those writers that one either loves and thinks he is a genius, or hates him and finds him a practical joke. I, certainly, include myself in the first category. The more I read his works, the more I admire his style and geniality. "Franny and Zooey" has become one of my all time favorite books. It is short, a quick read -- but at the same time very profound and touching.Divided in two parts, each named after each sibling, the book basically tells the story of Franny nerves breakdown. In the first part we meet Franny, who meets her boyfriend for a football weekend at his college. While they are having lunch she tells him about the phoniness at school and of the egotism of the facult, what is making her sick. She also says about a religious book, in which she found the Jesus Prayer. It is supposed to be a very powerful prayer, which goes "Lord Jesus, have mercy on me". It is very simple and one must say it all the time, until it becomes as natural as breathing. This prayer is supposed to meant to cleanse one's spirit. On the way to the toilet she faints, and when she is revived, Franny begins to say the prayer.The second part, named `Zooey', takes place some time later, and it picks up from where the first one finished. It is narrated Buddy Glass -- an older brother of Franny's and Zooey's. In the Monday right after the girl's breakdown he is at home in New York. This part consist in dialogues and an old letter from Buddy to Zooey. Every dialogue features only two characters, either Zooey and his mother, or his sister -- or only the two women.It is very powerful what the writer can bring up with his dialogues. We learn that the two of them have basically been raised on a blend of different religions, taught to them by their older brothers Buddy and Seymour (see "Nine Stories"'s "A Perfect Day for the Bananafish" to learn a little more about Seymour). Zooey try and help Franny sort out her spiritual and personal beliefs, trying to bring peace to her.Salinger is able to explore a great variety of issues using Franny's breakdown as an `excuse'. Not only are mysticism and religion explored but also family, celebrity, education, and intellectualism. Religion, God, Jesus and personal beliefs play an important role throughout the narrative. The family plot deals with a family of geniuses that can't handle their geniality. The relationship between the siblings -- mostly Franny & Zooey, and Seymour and Buddy -- is very complex. The younger ones resent the education they received by their older brothers. Zooey usually says they became `freaks' because of it.In "Franny and Zooey" Salinger managed to issue the experience of one's disenchantment. Franny hates both herself and others both herself and others for the egotistical behavior and phony conformity in which they all engage. One of her brothers advice is "If you are going to go war against the System, just do your shooting like a nice, intelligent girl -- because the enemy is there, and not because you don't like his hairdo or his goddam necktie".This turns out to be the central theme in this book --and that is present is most Salinger's works. Here, in "Franny & Zooey" the issue has a redemptive twist -- it feels like the writer is telling us that people with huge egos and weak wills should be respected, at least for their humanity. And this is a message that not many writers are able to prove. But Salinger can do it with beauty.

A Wonderful Novel by a Gifted Writer!

by Bernadette A. Moyer

J.D. Salinger writes in a style that leaves the reader hungry for each and every page. Two stories that keep the reader interested, focused and wanting more.My high school aged daughter had this title on her required reading list and I can see why.A truly gifted writer.

Salinger Crosses Over

by Bill Slocum

"An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's," declares Zooey Glass to his sister Franny, and Salinger italicizes the words "on his own terms" in case there was any doubt. Not that you doubt Salinger's artistic integrity. His sanity, however, is another story.Madness is at the center of J.D. Salinger's "Franny And Zooey," published together in 1961 after first seeing print as separate stories in "The New Yorker" ("Franny" in 1955, "Zooey" two years later.) While the two stories work in tandem as they deal with the same concerns and main characters and are set a day or two apart, they feel quite distant from one another. Salinger abandons the discipline and wonderful ambiguity of "Franny" for a rambling philosophical tract that seems to be written more for Salinger and his fictional brainchildren than any outside reader.In "Franny," the title character is a college student who has had it with pedantic professors and her stuck-up boyfriend. She longs for spiritual contentment, one detached from materialistic ego. Failing, she sinks into a state of near catatonia as she recites a prayer over and over trying to make a decisive break.It is one of the finest stories Salinger wrote, which means a lot considering he wrote "For Esme With Love And Squalor" and "The Laughing Man." In the opening paragraph alone, we get a wonderful sense of place watching Yale boys await their dates' arrival via train, Salinger displaying both that pungent wit and considerable humanistic charm which made "Catcher In The Rye" so special.As they huddle in groups in their overcoats against the autumn chill, "each young man, in his strident, conversational turn, was clearing up, once and for all, some highly controversial issue, one that the outside, non-matriculating world had been bungling, provocatively or not, for centuries."By focusing on one of these men, Lane Coutell, and letting us meet his date Franny Glass through his eyes, Salinger immediately sets the right tone, describing her spiritual crisis in a series of awkward pauses over martinis and uneaten food. Lane is a decent young man, but absolutely not what she needs at that moment, made clearer as she begins to fall apart before him. She worries about her soul; he worries about her lousing up his homecoming weekend.It's a fun, subtly presented dichotomy. As she talks about her admiration for a pilgrim she has read of who has dedicated his life to prayer, one is reminded of how well Salinger used spirituality to inform his sublime short story "Teddy.""Franny" ends poignantly, if abruptly, but instead of leaving well enough alone, he wrote the sequel story "Zooey," more than three times the length of "Franny" and more an endurance run than sprint. Now back home, Franny lies on a sofa in her parents' apartment as her brother Zooey tries to rouse her from her mental state by telling her what life is really all about.Calling "Zooey" a mess is to be kind. It is pompous, fuzzy-minded, and as divorced from reality as "Franny" was grounded in it. Salinger itemizes the contents of every overstuffed room in the Glass house, even the medicine cabinet. Long, rambling conversations are written out in stenographic detail, while paragraphs detail Zooey's shaving methods and his attitudes toward various brilliant siblings, alive and dead.I don't want to say "Zooey" is terrible, because it isn't. Salinger offers some interesting concepts. Though the Glass family is pretty insufferable in their intellectual and spiritual superiority (and becomes more so, in later Salinger works), their complicated interrelationships are detailed in amusing fashion. Every now and again Salinger hits a great note.You may like "Zooey" for what it is; if so you can be happy knowing you have that much in common with the author. The rest of us will have to make do with "Franny," a fair bit of solace indeed.

Pay attention young writers. Study this book.

by Billy Lombardo

Let's face it: if you're only going to write a handful of books in your lifetime, let one of them be The Catcher in the Rye, and let another one be Franny and Zooey. Billed by many critics as two stories I find it more fitting to describe the text as a novella in two parts. One-fifth of the way into Franny and Zooey, the narrator steps directly into the novel to establish, among other things, the narrative contract with the reader. In this section the narrator all but introduces himself as Buddy, the oldest living of the seven children of Bessie and Les Glass. Zooey and Franny Glass are the youngest of these children. This lucid contract with the reader belies the narrative complexities of the novella. The final scene of Franny and Zooey, while the siblings speak to each other on separate phone lines just one room away from each other, is one of my favorite, and one of the most moving scenes in all of literature.

Amazingly singular

by Chris Salzer

How is it possible to transform seemingly mundane conversations and goings-on into provocatively compelling dialogue and enticingly iridescent prose with masterful ability? Read Franny & Zooey and find out. Two brooding, yet illuminating short stories published in The New Yorker 2 years apart, Franny & Zooey exists as a book with two inseparably joined stories on one level; conversely they, almost without exception, also exist as two patently disparate short stories unique unto themselves.Although written in 3rd person, the amount of not so infrequent profound introspection that emanates from the acutely neurotic Franny & Zooey leaves one in awe of Salinger's unimpeachable acumen for fiction. For those in doubt, just read the first page and witness Salinger's penchant for jaw-dropping prose as he somehow magically transmogrifies a rather uneventful setting into an engrossingly captivating one.Franny is acutely plagued by an insufferable disillusionment in a name-dropping pedantic collegiate environment that has sapped her passion for college and the cookie cutter lifestyle that invariably will accompany it soon after. Zooey's unremitting, if not humorous, cynicism and his biting sardonic commentary on his overbearing mother, Franny's esoteric religious beliefs, and on society in general make a perfect yin for Franny's yang."Sometimes I think that knowledge-when it's knowledge for knowledge's sake, anyway-is the worst of all."- Franny

Franny and Zoey is a short story and a novella by the famous Jerome David Salinger

by C. M Mills "Michael Mills"

J.D. Salinger (1919-2010) won lasting literary fame for his short novel "The Catcher in the Rye." Salinger, though, was primarily a short story writer. Two of his short works are "Franny" and "Zooey" ( a short story and novella) which appeared in "The New Yorker" in the mid 1950s. Salinger's oeuvre is slim. The reclusive author spent most of his life living in a small New England town with occasional forays into New York City. Salinger was an inveterate lover of young women whose personality has proven to be an enigma to biographers.The two stories contained in this small volume of 203 pages deals with the fictional Glass family. Francis (nicknamed "Fanny") is a beautiful young coed. The story concerns her being invited to spend a football weekend at an Ivy League campus for the Yale game. She meets with Lane her boyfriend and collapses with a nervous stomach. There is much more going on under the surface! Franny is disgusted by the egotism and shallow learning which goes on in college. She is seeking wisdom as she delves into a Russian book about a pilgrim seeking how to pray in the manner advised by Paul in his Thessalonians letters. Saliniger is adept at rapid fire dialogue. The action takes place in the mind of the reflective Fanny.Zooey is one of the seven Glass siblings raised by a family of American-Irish former vaudeville stars. he and his mother Bessie have a long discussion on literature and philosophy. Zooey seeks to help Franny work through her depressive mood and disillusionment about life.Both stories subtly assail the shallowness and quest for material comforts endemic in modern society. The stories also reflect Salinger's religious quest.Both stories are considered classics and come from the pen of one of America's most famous twentieth century authors.

"1" star, because 1/5 of the book was good

by Daniel Mackler

the first 1/5th of the book was good, had a good plot going, interesting characters, vintage salinger, the cynicism, the whole nine yards. but then it just went to hell in a handbasket, fizzled and puzzled and wuzzled and ultimately just became unreadable and DULL. god bless you if you can finish this book and have enjoyed the whole thing...i couldn't. indigestable.

The most haunting of Salinger's works

by Darren in Kansas City "Darren in Kansas City"

The Franny story is a scary account of someone coming unhinged made even more disturbing by her youth. Like Salinger's other two-tale collection, one feels like a real story with arc and all. The other seems unformed - rewarding nevertheless, but demanding of the reader's full attention.

Teen-age intellectuals search for fulfillment in the 1950's

by Dave Deubler

A young woman asks, "Isn't there more than this?" "Perhaps not," her brother answers, "but does there need to be?" While not taken from the book, this exchange briefly summarizes this discursive intellectual thought-piece from J.D. Salinger. Comprised of two stories that were published separately in "The New Yorker" during the mid-fifties, the transition to `novel' was never entirely completed, but this book about two college-age siblings and their search for fulfillment is certainly not without appeal.The first story, "Franny" reads like a comedy of manners focusing on the Ivy League college crowd of the 1950's. Franny and her boyfriend Lane are two bright young intellectuals, with comfortable backgrounds and brilliant futures who go on about the Yale Game, and their course work, and their academic advisors, etc.., ad nauseum, in more than enough detail to make us feel like we're right there in the restaurant with them. But it soon transpires that Franny is no more interested in their insipid chatter than we are. Questioning the value of her studies, the wisdom of her teachers, and the ability of her fellow students, Franny is only going through the motions of her day to day life. Her dissatisfaction comes to a head when she passes out at the restaurant.The sequel, "Zooey" reveals that Franny is a member of the celebrated Glass family, and finds her ensconced with her mother, brother, and cat in the family's New York apartment. At this point the narrator, older brother Buddy Glass rears his unwelcome head and dominates the rest of the book. Unwelcome, because Salinger loses his artistic distance and allows the material to become cloying. To wit: all 7 or so Glass siblings were child prodigies of encyclopedic knowledge, talent, creativity, and religious wisdom; they all grew to love each other very much, including their parents, and all of them are either successful or dead or both. Buddy's adoration of his family smothers us, and becomes the whole focus of the story. We don't get into the other characters' heads nearly as much as we get into the narrator's. We see every little detail of the story played out, with plenty of voice-overs to ensure that we don't miss the significance of a single detail. Meanwhile, Franny sleeps through the middle section, and Lane is completely abandoned.But despite the skill with which Salinger portrays teenage alienation, this book is not likely to play well with anyone who is not a white, middle-class intellectual; if you're not a Glass, you don't belong here. This story is just a gentle reminder that even during peacetime, young people can find reasons to be upset with the system - it goes with the territory. Teens who are into self-discovery should find resonance with their own feelings - they're certainly the target audience - but its doubtful that today's young intellectuals see nothing more to be critical of than their professors' affectations. A document of a simpler, more homogenous era.

Seeking Spiritual Connection

by Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!"

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."-- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)An all too infrequent subject for literature is considering how following the Bible might impact one's life. In this case, a young woman (Franny Glass) reacts to the world's phoniness by continually repeating a brief "Jesus prayer." In the short story, "Franny," this subject is introduced in the context of a weekend date in New Haven before a football game. Franny's attempt to draw closer to God contrasts powerfully with the superficial concerns of Lane, her date.In the companion novella, "Zooey," we see the more sensitive reaction of Franny's brother, Zooey, to her more prayerful life. His solution is to attack her motives and methods, weaknesses that she's well aware of.From both works, there's a haunting sense of being alone amid a secular world focused on trivia at a time when one is seeking to develop a spiritual foundation. Franny doesn't have a prayer partner to help her learn more about prayer and to develop her spiritual life. As a result, her foray leaves her weakened and vulnerable. The angst of the existentialist questions about the meaning of life comes through very strongly.While not being overt about it, J.D. Salinger is setting up the case for detachment as the solution to the pain of modern living, as a contrast to either playing the world's game or seeking to find a meaningful spiritual connection.I first read these works when they were initially published in book form in 1961. I didn't like Lane any better this time, but I wasn't as pleased with Zooey as I was on the initial reading. My reactions to Franny were about the same.For anyone on a search for God, don't just guide your life by one Bible verse. Draw from the whole Bible, learn the Gospel message, and spend time with believers who are interested in helping you find answers to your questions and concerns. At some point, the Holy Spirit will take over . . . something that doesn't happen in these works.It's good food for thought. Although the circumstances of the story are clearly dated into the 1950s, I think the search for spiritual meaning represented here is timeless.

Not wild about this

by Ellis Bell

Franny and Zooey is a short book. In fact, it was originally published as two short stories in the New Yorker--"Franny" in 1955 and "Zooey" in 1957, and then published together in 1961. Franny and Zooey Glass are brother and sister--Franny's a 20-year old college student having a "nervous breakdown" as she explores Eastern religion, and Zooey's a 25-year-old actor who still lives at home. Bookending the two is the rest of the Glass family: the five other children, who we never met, and Mrs. Glass, who talks in italics.Salinger wasn't one for "action," per se--there's a lot of saying, but not doing, in his novels. He tends to over-describe things--he even lists the entire contents of a medicine cabinet. Sometimes this can get long-winded and pointless, and it was easy for me to see why Catcher in the Rye overshadows this book. Franny and Zooey explore religion to a great extent in these stories, and their philosophizing went over my head in places. The dialogue is neurotic at times and fast-paced. Overall, not my cup of tea.

Franny and Zooey

by Erez Davidi

Reading “Nine Stories” gave me an appetite for Salinger’s short stories. “Franny and Zooey” is comprised of one short story and one novella that are can actually be read as one story. The story itself is mostly about Franny’s depression, and her genius brother, Zooey’s attempt to help his sister overcome her depression. Frankly, it doesn't matter what the story is about, Salinger’s writing is so beautiful that whatever Salinger writes about will be just a joy to read.

A good afternoon read

by Gary Scott

Salinger is the master of irreverent prose, and he uses that mastery perfect use in this book, a study on the nature of ego, knowledge, "establishment" (imagine that in a Salinger book?!), and religious piety, to name a few of the ideas and themes that get tossed around.The setting and plot are simple: Salinger's Glass family returns, and we're given the dialog of three conversations and the entire contents of two letters -- that's it. But in that short space (and my edition of the book is only about 130 pages), Salinger manages to pack more than many writers can get into a book three times the size. He shows instead of telling.This is a must of those who like Salinger's earlier work, and is more compelling for me than "Catcher."

Entertaining and intelligent

by G. Dawson

Franny and Zooey is not really a single novel. Rather, it's more like two novellas, though the novellas have overlapping characters. These 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 (and also the Wes Anderson movie The Royal Tannenbaums). 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. Entertaining and intelligent.

Do it for the Fat Lady

by Guillermo Maynez

This book consists of two interrelated stories about members of the Glass family. These kids (seven of them if I remember well) are the children of a showbusiness family from New York and they used to be genius-kids who appeared on a radio show answering quizzes and philosophizing. Apparently the Glass kids had a special education in an ecumenical religiosity and philosophy, and their situation as whiz kids has led to emotional distress, much a-la Holden Caulfield but more illustrated. By the way, in terms of its central themes, this book could be said to be the closing of the full circle of Caulfield's story. The Glasses, just like Caulfield, are intelligent people, very frustrated with the inadequacies of life in general and the people who surround them. They are very neurotic in a New York way. They are angry because people aren't as intelligent as they should be, and because the ways of the world are not what reason and humanism tell us they should be. How to cope with it?In the first story, Franny, a young college girl, arrives in New Haven (Yale) to be with her preppy and also intellectualizing boyfriend for a football weekend. They go to a cafe to have some food (and drinks and cigarettes). The story is simply the account of their talk. Salinger is one of the greatest masters of frenzied and fast dialogue, and it shows here. Franny is telling his boyfriend about all the phoniness of campus life, about the lunacy and presumptuosness of teachers and classmates. She tells him how she has read a book about a Russian monk who discovers a special Jesus prayer. If you repeat this prayer incessantly, it will become a part of you and repeat itself automatically, bringing you closer to grace and peace. The conversation starts getting out of hand as Franny gets carried away and as the boyfriend becomes rather estranged, until Franny collapses on her way to the restroom. When she wakes up, she is constantly whispering the Jesus prayer.In the second story, Franny is at her parents' home in NY, recovering from her nervous breakdown. In a long talk with her brother Zooey (both of them being the youngest Glass children), they confront each other's traumas, weaknesses, genius and problems with the world. Zooey is also extremely talented and aware of the inadequacies of the world, but he seems to be in a (slightly) better emotional phase than Franny. The dialogue is moving, neurotic and masterful. After they argue rather violently, Zooey goes to another room and calls Franny pretending to be an older brother living away. In a further conversation Zooey forces Franny to understand that following a simple but futile recipe will not do the trick. The Jesus prayer is not enough: we have to accept the world as it is as well as the people around us. We can not be "catchers in the rhye". But we should live an ethical life, just because (which made me think of Kant's "categorical imperative"). As Seymour Glass, the eldest brother, once said to Zooey, sometimes you have to do things "for the Fat Lady", that is, just because it is the right thing to do, even if no one will notice."Frany and Zooey" is written in a lower key. It is unprententious, unlike its characters, but deep down it is about profound questions. How to cope with this mad world filled with people who are not bright nor good? Can you save the world? How to live? Yes, sometimes we have to do things we wouldn't like to do, but we have to do it, if only for the Fat Lady.

Not worthwhile

by Harkius "harkius"

At this point, I have finished all of the Glass saga that is printed in book form. I doubt, alas, that I shall have the gumption or masochism (whichever way you look at it) to go find the remainder on the IntarWub.I finished this book last of the Glass saga (including Nine Stories, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and Seymour: An Introduction). While it was better than the latter two novellas (largely bettered by the absence of Seymour: An Introduction), it still has all of the pretentiousness of some of the worst of Salinger.Particularly infuriating points, personally, include the asinine practice of italicizing approximately one third of any word longer than six letters for the majority of the saga. Whilst this would be understandable (and merely odious) if it were simply the precocious Glass children and their parents (or even including Grandpa Zozo, etc.), it spreads like a virulent cancer into other, non-family members. This transforms it from an obnoxious family trait of condescending verbal skills into purely bad writing. Ah, what a treat.Also, I enjoyed the final deconstruction of the vaunted Eastern tradition of the 1950's by Zooey Glass, even if it was immediately followed by an insipid, mawkish return to same a few pages later. Boys and girls, the East does not have the answers that the West has somehow lost. IT DOESN'T. It was refreshing to see Zooey bemoan the farcical training and teaching that Buddy and Seymour have given him, and it was nice to see a formal vilification of this kind of teaching, alas it is too late, since Salinger spends so much time admiring it in the other stories. :(That said, there was little commendable in either of these stories. The characters act like spoiled children, as we may well expect of the last two children of the Glass family. Their comments, their nauseating pleas for intelligence on the part of the remainder of the human race, are all that is called for by those who consider themselves above the rest of us. How sweet it would be if there was a point wherein the Glass children, one by one, or all at once, realized that they too are children of desire and that they are no better, indeed, no different, from the mooing bovine masses that surround them.No doubt, this review will be commented upon and negatively reviewed by the thousands who consider Salinger a latter day Jesus. Oh well. For those of you who are critically considering reading ANYTHING of the Glass saga, read Zooey, and then stop. Or, read A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Teddy, and Zooey, and then stop. Read more of it if you want to suck down pretentious, obnoxious, and odious fiction.Harkius

Salinger at his best!

by jaclyn michelle

[...]I certainly have nothing wildly original to contribute to what's already been written about Salinger and his work. Originally published in the New Yorker and focused on the youngest of the Glass children, Franny focuses on the genesis of Franny's spiritual/existential crisis and the companion novella Zooey tackles Zooey's reaction as Franny takes brings her breakdown to the family home in Manhattan. Salinger's narrative voice is so strong and his characters so dynamic and vibrant. My favorite scene takes place in the Glass family bathroom as Zooey's bath is interrupted by Bessie, his meddlesome mother. Whether meant as a religious parable or love story, it's certainly thought-provoking and rife with memorable moments and enviable dialogue (I *wish* I could be as intentional, witty and, when appropriate, eviscerating as Zooey when I speak!).Rubric rating: 8. I wasn't crazy about Catcher in the Rye the first time around (but then again, the first time around I was a 14 year old girl) and Franny and Zooey made me want to give it another shot.

Great companion to CATCHER IN THE RYE

by J. Bosiljevac

This is an incredibly complex book for its brevity. Two inter-related stories take place in only five scenes, but the scale of the story and depth of the characters is much greater. Part of this is due to Salinger's uncanny ability to hit the nail on the head when it comes to young people coming to grips with the realities of the world and how they fit into it. In a few pages, we know the characters because we were the characters. We went through the same things they're going through. Whether it's Holden Caulfield in CATCHER IN THE RYE, or Franny Glass in this book, there's a little bit of us in the characters and a little of the characters in us.Franny and Zooey is about a teenage girl going through the crisis of finding herself and her brother coming to her aid as she borders on nervous breakdown. Franny and Zooey are the youngest of seven children, all geniuses and all showbiz prodigies. The first story, "Franny," is a pretty straightforward scene of Franny's breakdown. It has smart dialogue and I absolutely love Franny by the end of it, but the real meat of this book comes with the second story.Some people have latched onto exactly what causes Franny's condition as the main question in the story. I thought it a more interesting question: Who is the narrator of "Zooey?" We are told early on that it is an elder brother, Buddy, but I'm not so sure we should take this at face value, especially considering Zooey's tendency to act and impersonate, as exemplified later in the story. Could Zooey possibly be the narrator, and how does that change our perception of the story?There is a line in "Zooey" that goes: "...all legitemate religious study must lead to unlearning the differences, the illusory differences between boys and girls, animals and stones, day and night, heat and cold." This seemed one of the major themes of the book, one of the lessons Franny is learning. It also applies to a comparison between Franny and CATCHER's Holden Caulfield. There's more in common between people, things, etc., than one may think. Sometimes it just takes a higher viewpoint.This is a great book for a lit class, with many questions for discussion. Zooey's point, as he talks Franny out of her hole, that what motivates her-the quest for knowledge and enlightenment-is no different than than what motivates the people she looks down upon-those seekind money, fame, culture, property. With one swift stab, he pokes a hole in her stance of intellectual superiority. Whether one agrees with his argument or not, the dynamic between the younger, searching sister and older, slightly wiser brother is laced with insight and interest. A great, quick read.

And that's how the story ends?

by JMack

I am a big fan of Salinger's work, Catcher in the Rye in particular. Based on the recommendations of others, I chose to read this selection. Based on the high standards I have for Salinger, I am somewhat dissappointed.Franny and Zooey are similar to Our freind Holden in "Catcher..." in many ways. They are all very good at finding the flaws in others. Where this book differs from "Catcher..." is that Salinger gives a solution to how the characters can get past these issues. Whereas the ending was somewhat predictable in hindsight, I never saw it coming. Nevertheless, I believe this book is well worth your trouble to read.


by John-78

I loved re-reading Catcher in the Rye awhile back and when a couple of my friends recommended Franny and Zooey swearing it was better, I couldn't wait to get into it. It started fine with dramatic tension between the neurotic college girl Franny and her "Holden Caulfield like" college boyfriend Lane. Then it all derailed with a new character, Franny's brother Zooey (another Holden) and this painful long back and forth wih his mother about what to do with poor mixed-up sister Franny. I wanted to like this book, but oh well.

Tough Sledding at Times

by John F. Rooney

Reading "Franny and Zooey" is like watching a not-so-good Woody Allen film: mannered, smart-alecky, brittle, neurotic, New Yorkery, overly talky, quirky, boring, infuriating, annoying, show-offy, and just simply tiresome.The book consists of two stories. "Franny is 41 pages long, and "Zooey" is 155 pages long. In her story Franny is exasperating and egotistic as she argues with her college date in a New Haven restaurant at lunch before a college football game. She drinks too much and has obviously come close to a mental break-down by overdoing her repetition of the Jesus prayer."Zooey" starts with a long argument/discussion between Zooey and his mother Bessie in the bathroom of the Glass Manhattan apartment while Zooey is in the tub, and the mother is apparently seated on the toilet. Everyone smokes an awful lot in both stories.The second part of the story is a long argument/diatribe between Zooey and Franny in the Glass living room in which Zooey talks about the Jesus prayer and says it's very convenient that Franny has come home after the New Haven confrontation to have her nervous break-down in the comfort of her own home. Zooey is clever enough, after a terrible amount of palaver, to give Franny some comfort and peace of mind though.Bessie and Les Glass, an old vaudeville team, had seven children: Seymour, Buddy, Boo Boo, Fanny, Zooey, and the twins Walt and Waker. Walt had been killed in an accident in Japan. Seymour committed suicide in Salinger's short story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish." From 1927 to 1943 the Glass children at various times appeared on the radio program "It's a Wise Child," a program similar to radio's real "Quiz Kids" which featured precocious children. Zooey said the parents made the kids into freaks. Zooey (Zacharay) is an actor, and Franny is a college senior.All the arguments and endless discussions of religion are boring in a work of fiction. Zooey's long rant in the living room about Franny saying of the Jesus prayer tries the reader's patience. Zooey makes a phone call and imitates brother Buddy. She recognizes Zooey. He says she needs detachment and desirelessness. He boosts her ego by assuring her she's a good actress. Seymour had told Zooey, that even though he was on the radio, he should shine his shoes for the fat lady, an anonymous listener.My advice is to stay with the story; you may like it or hate it, but it is what it is.

Give Salinger a Chance

by Laura

I hated The Catcher in the Rye. HATED it. But a friend who likes many of the same classics as me told me to give Salinger another try with Franny and Zooey. I'm glad I did. Whether you loved Catcher in the Rye or hated it, you should give Salinger's other main work a read.

Crimony J.D. Your characters smoke too much!

by "mambodog"

"Zooey" opens with Zooey taking a bath and for the next 68! pages he never leaves the bathroom. Denouement occurs when Zooey draws shut the shower curtain so Bessie, his mother, can enter the bathroom. Zooey and Bessie engage in a Verbal Karate match and accomplish nothing save the lighting, dragging on, and extinguishing of countless cigarettes.Oh yes - the medicine cabinet swings open incessantly, afterwhich, Zooey explains that his sister's hysteria is due to her poor choice in reading material. The entire 68 page bathroom scene is lightly punctuated by a delightful orange cuticle stick and several passive cameos from a blue bathmat. And more cigarettes: On the frosted-glass ledge and on the built-in enamel soap catch.Read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert M. Pirsig. It has all the Mystic Flavor of "Franny and Zooey" without the Tar and Nicotine.

"The cards are stacked (quite properly, I imagine) against all professional aesthetes"

by Matt Beatty

Probably JD Salinger's second-most-famous novel, he's here again with the Glass family, in particular Zooey who has the same kind of attitude, questioning, condescension, pretension, and zinging pessimism as Holden Caulfield. The novel starts with the short story "Franny," where the heroin struggles with a spiritual conversion she's not quite sure she's actually having. Her difficulties surround her, in everything. She can't escape. There is no resolution.Next we get "Zooey," a novella focused on the novel's true protagonist (or grown-up Holden), as he weeds through his family life, his two older genius brothers who have influenced his and Franny's life tremendously, for better or worse. We get his take on the acting life, true spirituality, and brilliance.The whole book is a blazing philosophical and spiritual exercise, surely echoing many of Salinger's own positions, as he explores the truths and untruths and ramifications of trying to find the underpinnings of life. It moves slowly, but the conversation is fascinating--Salinger is brilliant at writing conversation, with emphases, colloquial speech, and (usually) authentic speaking rhythm. It's an easy read and I would recommend, simply for the relatable family dynamics and the very provoking spiritual and religious questionings.--- ---"any name of God--any name at all--has this peculiar, self-active power of its own, and it starts working after you've sort of started it up" (37)"The cards are stacked (quite properly, I imagine) against all professional aesthetes, and no doubt we all deserve the dark, wordy, academic deaths we all sooner or later die." (59)"Phooey, I say, on all white-shoe college boys who edit their campus literary magazines. Give me an honest con man any day." (98)"I don't know what good it is to know so much and be smart as whips and all if it doesn't make you happy." (118)"You're lucky if you get time to sneeze in this goddam phenomenal world. I used to worry about that. I don't worry about it very much any more. At least I'm still in love with Yorick's skull. At least I always have time enough to stay in love with Yorick's skull. I want an honorable goddam skull when I'm dead" (198)"An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and *on his own terms*, not anyone else's." (199)

Running back and forth between grief and delight

by Mike Stone

A warm calm, akin to the same feeling I had while reading Herman Hesse's "Siddhartha", swathed me while reading "Franny and Zooey". Both books are slight in length but not in content, and deal with restless youths caught in contemplation. "Siddhartha", set in India, is a far cry from Salinger's Manhattan, but both locales appear to be appropriate settings for a search past life's phoniness, to the truths the world holds.As regular readers of this space will know, among my favourite literary themes are genius, loneliness, and obsession. "Franny & Zooey" has all three in spades. The seven Glass children, all of whom inform the main characters in some way or another, were all tormented by their genius. Franny, stuck in a spiritual crisis, is only just realizing that she's alone in the world. And Zooey appears obsessed by the idea that his family, most notably his smothering mother and his oldest two brothers, has shaped him in such a way that he can't escape himself.Like Salinger's archetype angst-maestro, Holden Caulfield, Franny and Zooey both appear to be caught up in teen obsessions: questioning authority, judging those around them through a particularly narrow prism, and intent on wiling away their time caught up in self-discovery. The startling thing, though, is that Franny and Zooey are no longer in teen angst's main demographic. Franny, aged 20, and Zooey, 25, are adults, now. It's comforting to know of two peers (I'm 26 at this writing) still caught up in their same youthful questions, as I am myself. It makes me wonder if that old axiom -- "If you're not a rebel by age 20, you have no heart; if you haven't sold out by age 30, you have no brain" -- doesn't have to be true. Sure, it may not lead to a productive life, and, like Franny, there may be some psychological bumps along the way. But won't the end be much better? Assuming the answers are forthcoming.The above paragraph, although filled with self-satisfaction, can *too* be true while also being pretentious.'Franny', the shorter story that begins this collection, is a startling feat. It dances around the issue of Franny's mental breakdown, providing a multitude of clues as to why it must occur, but never knocking the reader over the head with cheap psychology. Although not explicitly written in his voice, the story is told through the eyes of Franny's boyfriend, Lane Coutell, a shallow and pompous college student, obsessed with having a perfect night on the town with a respectable girl. We see the signs of Franny's breakdown through Lane's narrow worldview. Just as he doesn't understand what is happening to her, we don't either. It's a neat little trick.Upon reflection, 'Franny' can be read as a prologue to 'Zooey', which takes place once Franny has returned to her family home in New York. Its introduction represents a neat bit of meta-fiction. Is it or isn't Buddy Glass commenting on the events surrounding his youngest brother and sister, and their domineering mother? Through Buddy's introduction, Salinger is able to make excuses for the rambling nature of the story to follow. For some, it's an excuse he needs to make. For me, I appreciate the little bit of self-reflexivity (which only really became trendy after 1955-57, the years the stories were published), but didn't need the author to warn me of his impending self-indulgence.What immediately follows is a miraculous and hilarious (and quite long) sequence where Zooey is trying to take a contemplative bath, but is constantly interrupted by his mother. Zooey is a fine creation: he has little or no ego control, spouting hateful and sarcastic rants at his mother, who may or may not deserve them. "[Buddy] does everything else Seymour ever did -- or tries to. Why the hell doesn't he kill himself and be done with it?" he asks at one point, in a furious attempt to cut to the chase, while cutting to the bone. It's family dysfunction at it's most brutal and, frankly, most honest.Zooey could have become a terribly loathsome character if he continued down this path, but he doesn't. His scenes with Franny are touching and familiar, showing a sibling relationship at its most poignant as they try to dialogue Socratically through her problems. There's an obvious affection between the two, and a true sense of playfulness, even in the face of trauma. When Zooey wakes Franny from a depression induced nap, she is disoriented enough to ask why it is so sunny in the middle of the afternoon. Zooey replies: "I bring the sun wherever I go, buddy." I just love that little line, because it manages to say so much with so little.Which is, I guess, the essence of Salinger. When one can write as economically and yet as profound as he can, I'll follow him down any path he chooses, for as long as he chooses. In fact, I could have spent a lot more time with Franny and Zooey than he deigned to give me.

difficult but interesting

by Mirosui Onitsaki

i honestly find this book very difficult to read, but also very interesting once you get the hang of it.

too much dialogue

by M. Pickering "m1471"

Good, yeah. But the pontification of the characters gets a little tedious, and I found myself losing interest here and there. Good and poignant points are made, and overall a good effort, but not quite a page turner

Another Salinger Classic

by Nick

(Review based on the Penguin edition of said book)After having read "The Catcher in the Rye" and "Nine Stories", "Franny & Zooey" was the logical step onward. I absolutely adore JD Salinger, and that book didn't disappoint me at all.In this short novel - in two parts - you get to know more about the Glass family, first touched upon in "Nine Stories".Salinger is definitely one of the most talented writers I've ever had the pleasure to read, and I just can't get enough of his writings. He's at once witty, profound, extremely intelligent, humane, well-read, and God knows how many other adjectives I could list here.So what's this book about? I'd say, perhaps wrongly, that it's about life for people who are too intelligent to have an easy ride through it. But even that sort of description doesn't do the book justice. I just don't know how to describe this book without failing to do so; I think it's better to just trust me and go buy it right away (provided you read the two former books I mentioned at the beginning of this review). You have to experience this!I'm sorry about my reviews in general (and this one among them) because I never really write anything amazing unless I have something negative to say and criticise; the better the book, the worse the review. Salinger's treasures are too subtle to be apptly described in a review. I could say I love his style and everything, that I find him extraordinary and talented as hell, but that wouldn't do much convincing of anyone reading this review. Salinger may not please everyone, but you definitely must find out for yourself if you like his books or not.

Others: Always Causing Problems

by Ohioan

I read this book when I was in college, and I probably wasn't as tolerant of it then as I am today. Angst doesn't particularly interest me in that it makes for boring reading. Elitism doesn't much interest me, either, for the same reason: it makes for boring reading. However, Salinger was a great writer, who chose words with care. He was brilliant at bringing to life a certain kind of New York (they always felt like New Yorkers to me, a Midwesterner) teen who just couldn't cope with people around him or her. It's Others who are the problem for such teens. They want Others to be perfect, and to conform to their expectations of how Others should behave. Part of growing up is learning to cope with all the imperfections in people and situations. Part of growing up is certainly learning how to prioritize the things that "bother" one. It's a joy to see how Salinger brings his characters from avoidance to, if not acceptance, at least to coping.

shine them for the Fat Lady

by Orrin C. Judd "brothersjudddotcom"

Wow! This one really blind sided me. I, of course, love The Catcher in the Rye, but when I tried reading Nine Stories, I was put off by them, so between that & his notorious silence, I just assumed Salinger was a one hit wonder. Still, he's got a birthday coming up (1/01/1919) and I found the book for a dollar, so I figured what the heck. Boy, am I glad.The book consists of two interconnected stories from the Glass family series, originally published in The New Yorker; Franny is the youngest sister, Zooey the youngest brother. All seven of the children were featured, each as they came of age, on a radio program called "It's a Wise Child", where:In general, listeners were divided into two, curiously restive camps: those who held that the Glasseswere a bunch of insufferably "superior" little bastards that should have been drowned or gassed atbirth, and those who held that they were bona-fide underage wits and savants, of an uncommon, ifunenviable, order.I wavered between these two opinions, though leaning towards insufferable, through the first story, Franny (1955), which concerns Franny's visit to her college boyfriend as she teeters on the edge of a breakdown, and the first three quarters of Zooey (1957), which opens with an extended scene featuring the visiting TV star Zooey taking a bath and arguing with his mother as she tries to convince him to help Franny, who is continuing her breakdown on the family couch, having abandoned acting class. It seemed that these characters were simply Holden Caufields a little farther along in life--precocious, bright and charming, but hypersensitive to the point of neuroses. But then all of a sudden, when Zooey does intervene, the story really takes off.Franny, who shares with Zooey and her other siblings (and with Holden Caufield) an exasperation with the inadequacies of all those around her and with the problems of the world in general, has become fascinated by the works of a Russian mystic who advocates endless repetition of a certain Jesus Prayer as a means of getting in touch with God. (...)This beautiful revelatory story is so suffused with empathy, humanity and spirituality, I had very nearly the same reaction as Franny. Zooey/Salinger has offered a way out of Franny's/Holden's/our' dilemma: the dissatisfaction with the seeming shortcomings of the world and the people around us. First, we must let go of our obsession with the failings of those around us; we can not be, nor should we try to be, catchers in the rye, trying to save or change everyone. Second, we must polish them for the Fat Lady; seek to live our lives perfectly, that we may be worthy of the audience, Christ Himself.If you have ever read and enjoyed The Catcher in the Rye, you owe it to yourself to read this book, an extended coda which, in effect, completes Holden's tale. It is one of the most moving and profoundly Christian works I've ever read. No wonder folks get so wound up at the thought of what Salinger has been writing during his extended silence.GRADE: A+

Pretty good Salinger book

by P. Nicholas Keppler "rorscach12"

Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger examines the youngest children of the Glass family. Like their older brother, Seymour, made famous in Salinger's classic short story, A Perfect Day for Banana Fish and most of Salinger's children, they are gifted, precocious youths who have found ways to be miserable when faced with the task of growing up. While the Zooey, an actor and underachiever by Glass standards prefers to face his personal problems with a stubbornness and wittiness, his younger sister, Franny is waist deep in self-pity because she feels misunderstood and alone and can not find meaning in pretentious and phony upper class college life. Zooey is the perfect person to give Franny the tough love and show her the new perspectives to help her through her dilemmas and that's precisely what he tries to do one morning when he finds her in a weariness-induced sleep on their family couch. Although, it is not a book for readers bored by characters simply lounging around and talking (because that is precisely all they do), Franny and Zooey is a superb exploration of the relationships between adult siblings when they reluctantly leave the nest.

worth a look

by Robert N. Schroeter

Franny 20, Female is distraught about her life. Zooey 25, male is Franny's brother. And although Franny thinks she'll never make it through (what she thinks is a huge crisis), least of all through the help of her Bratty, know-it-all brother; the answers to all her problems have never quite been closer to her than they are now.This book, by the hugely talented Salinger will fill a spot in your heart whether you're the brother, or sister he's writing about. Althoug short, this book touches you unlike any other book can or has.The story is simple, and full of dialogue which, keeps you reading if if not interested. Its a slow rise to a great climactic ending which is absolutly destined to give you a rewarding feeling. At about 200 pages its a quick weekend read.

Franny and Zooey

by Robin Friedman

I had the opportunity to read "Franny and Zooey" for a book group following upon the death of J.D. Salinger (1919 -2010). I had read "Catcher in the Rye" and this book as well, as I remember, late in high school but had not revisited the author since then.I was struck by the religious, spiritual themes of the book, especially its involvement with Eastern religion and with mysticism. My interest in Buddhism has increased in recent years as I have become older. Salinger's books, which appealed to young people many years ago, seem to have aged with the time.The book includes two short interrelated stories written a few years apart, "Franny" (1955) and "Zooey" (1957), which were published in book form in 1961. The two are the youngest children of the Glass family that Salinger created. Franny is 20 and her brother Zooey 25. There were seven Glass children, all of whom were intellectual and child prodigies who appeared, over the course of nearly 20 years, on a radio quiz show called "Its a Wise Child." Their intellectual brilliance, among many other factors, have left them confused about themselves. The oldest Glass child, Seymour, had committed suicide seven years before the events described in "Franny and Zooey". In these two stories, Franny and Zooey are shown with their difficulties and with their attempts to come to a sense of peace, understanding, and detachment in terms which are overtly spiritual.The story "Franny" takes place over a college football weekend in 1955 where Franny comes to visit her boyfriend, Lane Coutrell. The story takes place over lunch between Franny and Lane and consists of their conversation. Franny is critical of her boyfriend and of his conventionality. She criticizes her professors amd most of the people around her for what she sees as complacency, ignorance, and egoism. In seeming contrast to what she perceives, Franny carries with her a Russian religious book called "The Way of a Pilgrim"The Way of a Pilgrimwhich discusses the need for continuous prayer as a well to self-illuminations. She discusses "The Way of a Pilgrim" and other forms of religious mantras found in Eastern religion with a skeptical and uninterested Lane during the course of their lunch. She collapses.The longer story "Zooey" takes place a few days following Franny's weekend with Lane. It is set in the Glass family home in New York City. The first character we meet is Zooey who is rereading a long letter from his brother, Buddy, which recounts the Glass family story and urges Zooey to be active and to make something of his life. The remainder of the story consists of conversations between Zooey and his mother, Bessie, and between Zooey and Franny. Zooey struggles to overcome his feelings as a "freak" and as an ousider and to suppress his disdain for a culture devoted to television. Zooey is concerned for his sister and for her devotion to what he perceives as a religious cult which will separate her from the need to go forward and live. Franny and Zooey have two intense conversations, the first face-to-face, and the second over the telephone where Zooey initially disguises himself as the brother, Buddy. Both Franny and Zooey seem to find ways of moving forward following their conversations.The book as a whole reminded me most of the Bhagavadgita in its theme of activity and doing what one needs to do more than of any Buddhist teaching. The book also reminded me of Kerouac who was active at about the same time as Salinger. Reading it as someone who is far from young, I had a sense of the quandries in which Franny and Zooey found themselves. I have struggled with some of the same religious texts and issues over the years. For all its success, this is a book that should be read quietly and in solitude.Robin Friedman

The Glass family - fifty years later

by Shalom Freedman "Shalom Freedman"

It is hard to believe that it is fifty years since this book appeared. I happened to be around then, and along with my sister who bought me the book eagerly rushed to read it then. I have read it more than one time since, and will write a few words about it without in any way attempting to be comprehensive or definitive. A very subjective few words.Salinger in this work is building the Glass family myth. This would be his central fiction for the major part of his publishing career post "The Catcher and the Rye" Along with the 'Franny and Zooey" there is the earlier "Nine Stories" which contains the first story about Seymour Glass, " A Perfect Day for Bananfish' something about Waker and Walt Glass, " Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut" and a story about Boo- Boo Glass Tannebaum,"Down at the Dinghy" Two more long stories published as one volume, " Seymour an Introduction" and "Raise High the Roof Beams Carpenter" were also published as one volume. And then there is the final story Salinger published before going silent, the long New Yorker tale( Hepworth) savaged by the Salinger critics. In this one the colloquial speech which is so much of Salinger's special appeal became overly- mannered kind of solipsistic discourse.All this is a long prelude to a few words about 'Franny and Zooey' The stories ostensibly have to do with the crises of two of the younger Glass family members. Franny's crisis relates to her relationship with the ' section- man Lane Coutrell' whose academic pretentious values mark him out as part of the kind of ' phony world' Salinger is always condemning. The actor Buddy too has his crisis relating to the mundane world of acting. The epiphany and final sentimental ending of the story which has to do with ' doing it for the Fat Lady' is Salinger's way of saying that despite all the sordid realities of realities there is no escaping if one wishes to be truly holy, from contending with everyday life and ordinary people.In the context and in the background is of course Salinger's creation of this family of geniuses, of oddball mystics, Jewish- Irish in origin who have a real flair and feeling for everyday American culture. The father Les has been an old vaudeville man and the mother Bessie softshoed with him on the old Pantages circuit.Along with creating the ring- ding authentic poet genius Seymour and the storywriter Buddy who is his ' amaneusis' Salinger gives us a picture of a lovable family who must deal with the everyday world, but somehow cannot. The great symbol of this is of course the family superstar, guru, oldest son, Seymour who commits suicide in 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish' a suicide not unconnected with the seemingly bourgeois, petty character of his wife and mother- in- law.'Franny and Zooey' has great Salinger dialogue and is wonderful in the whole feeling it gives of the Upper West Side special Glass- Salinger world. 'Manhatanee' and 'Salingerese' speak here at their best. But it also has that pretensiousness, that religious condescension, that simplicity of message( Go East young Westerners and be in touch with your true higher soul) which is at the heart of much of Salinger's work.In other words fifty years later aside from the Literature and the delight of the language and a world gone, all of which can be loved, there is a kind of criticism. I believe Salinger spiritually got it somehow wrong, and that this too relates to his continuing silence as a writer.But this does not detract from the special world he created and the pleasure of reading he has given to so many.

Religion is here...

by Shawn

Consisting of a short story and a related novella, here is Salinger's great statement on life.Maybe(?) It certainly speaks to alienation, but so do all Salinger's works. Well... read it and tell me what you liked about it. I am certain there will be something. It is well written.At times, the voice and the characters made me thing of Edward Albee's "Zoo Story", for some reason, a play written during the very same period of years. Maybe there was something in the air or water in the late 50's?Anyway, what was not to like here? I could say my typical, "I wish the author knew how to use paragraph breaks" but what is the point? Writers never listen.I counted 61 sentences in one "paragraph" in this book. As Salinger himself would say, through Zooey (or Caulfield before him), "For Christsake, you have to break the goddamn paragraph!"What else? That Salinger's choice of well off, white, Manhattan-living, prep-school protagonists is annoying? Yes, it is, but, we can only write what we know.The real highlight of the book, I think, is that it explains and distills religion, for us, more effectively than most of the holy books I have read.Worth reading.

Speeding toward a satisfying destination

by Stacey M Jones

I read this aloud with my husband and enjoyed the funny banter and the arguments and blistering speech. But the end was really the beauty of the book. Before that, I felt a little like I was just speeding along confused about the destination...I didn't think it was as compelling as "Catcher in the Rye," though there were many similarities that I liked and was drawn to: The relationship between the sister (Franny) and the brother (Zooey) was similar to that between Holden and Phoebe Caulfield, and, of course, the colloquial tone and the means of telling most of the story either through talking or the conceit of talking to the reader was so enjoyable, particularly read aloud. We took a while to get through it though, due to travel schedules, etc., and I think that letting it sit was a mistake; I think it lost some of its intensity because it wasn't read quickly. While reading it aloud was really fun, I think it would be equally enjoyable to hole-up with it for a day or weekend and get the whole effect of the conversations quickly following on one another in "real time," so to speak.That said, I thought it was really beautiful at the end, and I kind of got a little catch in my throat as I read the conclusion. Zooey (rhymes with Louie, so I've been told) really loves his sister dearly and her crisis of faith is a crisis for him, too. Its resolution is one of the precious moments when you have a small insight into being really loved. Experiencing that kind of familial closeness was really enriching, I thought. The way Salinger brings it together was quite poetic and moving. I highly recommend it.

If you like a lot of talking and not much else...

by Tara Walker Gross "Avid Reader"

It has been a very long time since I read Catcher in the Rye; therefore, I remember little about it other than (a) I didn't hate it and (b) Holden Caulfield annoyed me. This is the only other Salinger work that I have attempted and I'm honestly a bit torn as to how to rate it. I'm going to give it 2 out of 5 stars, with this caveat--were it not for Salinger's exceptional use of dialogue, this book would be worthless. The main characters, Franny and Zooey Glass, are extremely shallow and spend the entire book acting like obnoxious spoiled children. The entire [albeit, thankfully short] novel consists of repetitive conversations, with Salinger every once in a while throwing in an overly descriptive paragraph. Do we really NEED to know the entire contents of the Glass family medical cabinet? I think not. I feel as if the author was trying to lengthen his short stories (as these were originally published as such in The New Yorker) for the specific purpose of eventually publishing them as a book.

FRANNY AND ZOOEY by J. D. Salinger

by thepaxdomini

Franny and Zooey (1961) is J. D. Salinger's two-part novel about an intellectual and spiritually unfulfilled girl and her intellectual, snobbish brother. This novel features the Glass family, which Salinger has written about on other occasions. The majority of the book consists of three lengthy conversations: between Franny and her boyfriend, between Zooey and their mother, and between Franny and Zooey. The novel is so dialogue-heavy it reads very much like a play. The book's primary theme is spirituality, particularly of an Eastern bent (which is what Salinger himself was so fascinated by).What Salinger does very well is communicate his characters' feelings subtly, through their speech and behavior, rather than by narration, which takes all the style out of things. The reader really feels like he or she gets to know Franny and Zooey (neither of them is particularly likeable, but that's beside the point).While the dialogue between Salinger's characters is generally quite good, they all have the unbearable tendency to launch into unrealistic and lengthy monologues at any given moment. Here, at times, Salinger is in effect preaching to the reader.Inexplicably, Salinger is eternally focused on smoking. The reader always knows what each character is smoking, whether it's lit, and what hand he or she is holding it in. It's to the point of distraction, and serves no reasonable purpose other than to briefly interrupt interminable monologues. Salinger also displays other tendencies to micromanage his characters and their world (he gives ridiculously long descriptions of certain things, most egregiously the contents of the medicine cabinet).Ultimately, Franny and Zooey's downfall is that it doesn't particularly go anywhere. There's no real payoff. Two hundred pages of pampered, superior huffing and puffing, while entertaining at times and tedious by the end, climaxes with an unsatisfactory piece of basic, Eastern-worldview advice that gets treated as the greatest of revelations.


by V.D.M.

I first read this a few years ago, and, back then, it was just a driveling story about two elitist people talking about how they are better than everybody. I decided a couple weeks ago to pick this book up again. This is social commentary at its best, and it was written more than 50 years ago and still applies today. This is at least as good as The Catcher in the Rye! Read it more than once to get the most out of it like I did. HIGHLY recommended little book.

Sarcastic Salinger with spiritual undertones

by Walt Steinbeck "Cabildero"

Franny and Zooey portray's the two youngest siblings of a large and somewhat broken (by tragedy, not by divorce) family who are both struggling in their own ways to define themselves in this world. They come from a family that seems almost genetically predispositioned for intelligence and deep intraspection, yet this natural depth leaves these two young adults unable to feel at one with the world as they perceive it. There is a resolution at the end of this novel, and it is not in the typical Salinger style that readers of Catcher in the Rye may expect. This is a wonderful book that is so easy and quick to read, but, most importantly, so many of us can relate to these characters, and can truly become wrapped up in the message behind this classic work.

the mental agony

by whj

I think this book speaks about the mental agony of the two characters--exceptionally intellectual, raised in extraordinarily cerebral upbringing--when they are faced with the schism between their intellectual and spiritual ideals. Franny chooses obssessive recitation of "Jesus Prayer" and her nervous breakdown seems the result of this split (Schzophrenic) between these two very important worlds in her life. Zooey, on the other hand, decides to choose what appears to be more functional (at least superficially) way to manage this agony, however, clearly without satisfaction. I didn't really like this book because of too much similarity to The Catcher in the Rye, but with less discipline in writing and the plot.

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