July 23, 2010

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

Date Started: July 21
Date Finished: July 22

Summary: Franny is going through a bit of a quarterlife crisis. She's dropped out of school because of all the phony people that are so involved with their egos. She's quit the theatre department and is irritated with her boyfriend and his mild pretentiousness. Franny is on the verge of nervous breakdown, she can't take the falseness of her life anymore. Her older brother, Zooey, is an actor and is trying to talk her out of her despair, with little success.

Likes: First of all, I think I enjoyed this book a lot more because I'm not forced to write an essay about the meaning of it. Second, I think this book is hilarious, especially the parts with Zooey and his mother. As a college student, I could relate to Franny's irritation with the academic world. She wants knowledge for the sake of knowledge, not knowledge for the sake of bragging. I enjoyed reading the family dynamic as well. It still seems like they are grieving the loss of their oldest brother, who committed suicide (I believe his story is in Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger). The family is so sharp and honest with each other, something that we hardly ever read about families these days. They speak so honestly, regardless of whether they hurt each others feelings. They just speak openly and honestly, with little tact and it's just a refreshing read from some of the contemporary stories where the families hardly interact.

I think the reason I loved this is that it's timeless. In the story, it's 1955, but the themes can ring true for this day and age as well (that's why I believe a lot of high schoolers admire Catcher in the Rye because of its timelessness. I should probably reread that book without the issue of analyzing things and enjoy it for enjoyment's sake.)  I wasn't sure I was going to like it after reading Franny's part, but when Zooey was in the bathtub, reading his script and smoking, then his mother walks in (granted he's 25 years old too) and starts talking, I was won over and could hardly put the book down. 

Dislikes: There's not much I dislike about this book. I'm just glad I don't have to write an essay about it.

Overall: I loved it. The dialogue was hilarious. I think if you are forced to read this in high school, you'll enjoy it as much as Catcher in the Rye. J.D. Salinger has a way of writing disillusioned characters that engage you.

Recommended by: This has been on my reading list for years. I was just browsing at the library and I decided to pick it up. I wasn't sure what I was expecting. I was pleasantly surprised. 

Acquired: Library

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