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Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
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Franny and Zooey (1961)

by J. D. Salinger

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,462148304 (3.97)2 / 238
  1. 40
    Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction by J. D. Salinger (kxlly)
  2. 10
    The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt (girlunderglass)
    girlunderglass: More child prodigies one falls head over heels with.
  3. 00
    Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger (charlie68)
    charlie68: Maybe read this one before,some of the plot will be better understood.
  4. 11
    Summer Crossing by Truman Capote (ashleylauren)
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English (143)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (146)
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
I've read this three or four times before, and I'll likely read it once or twice more. Franny and Zooey came to me the summer after my Freshman year of college and I felt like I had never identified with a character as much as I did Franny Glass. Zooey was interesting, but too much of an asshole for me to admire or sympathize with.

Salinger seemed to me to be writing about exactly how I felt about my disappointments with college and the shortcomings of those around me; it all added up into one big mess. I didn't blame Franny for her crisis, hell I don't much care for the idea of Jesus storming around flipping tables and demeaning Easter chicks either.

Reading F&Z again, the summer after graduating, I still have some of those feelings, that lingering regret that college never seemed to live up to those high, ivory expectations and Enlightenment fantasies. But as Zooey reminds Franny, the bores and pedants and glaze-eyed mob are only 98% of the experience. For me the positives and time spent trying to achieve wisdom through knowledge was a lot greater than 2%, but I understood what he meant.

I love this book. Franny and Zooey may not be chock-full of action, but in the way that Catcher in the Rye captured adolescent disillusionment, Salinger caught with Franny & Zooey how to, if not conquer, cope and live despite that disillusionment as an adult. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
This book just didn't jive for me. I am a great fan of Salinger, but this didn't work. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Dec 17, 2018 |
Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger is a compilation of a short story, Franny, and a novella, Zooey, centering around two siblings. Franny is a college student going through an emotional breakdown. Zooey is her genius older brother. Their interactions and reactions to the story line cause for an interesting plot. This novel shows Salinger’s artful way of characterization and creating colloquial, vivid dialogue. The author has some flaws which show up into his writing, but these are overshadowed by his to the point prose and realistic portrayal of life and living. Writers can learn from Salinger’s characterization, dialogue, use of to-the-point prose, and how to avoid making the same mistakes.
The first interesting thing a reader notices about Franny and Zooey is Salinger’s tone and writing style. His witty writing is mixed extreme characterization with a tone of slight satire. It prods at life and his characters’ idiosyncrasies without making them into caricatures. As Ernest Hemmingway said, “When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” Salinger creates characters by using vivid and specific details to bring his characters to life.
In Reading Like a Writer, Francine Prose takes an excerpt out of this book which describes Franny and Zooey’s mother, Mrs. Glass. The description of her oversized bathrobe with pockets clanking and clicking with tools, mementos, and cigarettes brings her character off the page and into readers’ minds – bringing to life a woman utterly devoted to her children who tries to fix things and perhaps, tries too hard. Of course, Salinger is using hyperbole here, for certainly the woman doesn’t carry around everything he describes, but it’s use of detail is vitally important. “Details are what persuade us that someone is telling the truth,” wrote Prose. Details are that very breath which gives Salinger’s characters life.
Salinger uses these details to show and not tell. He crafts his characters in the way Prose discusses – through dialogue, plot, actions, physical description, setting, and gestures. Franny is a college girl trying to find the meaning of life and driving herself crazy in the meantime. The first introduction we have to her is through a letter she wrote to her boyfriend. This introduces some characteristics like her nervous, distractedness and her want for everything to be okay. She depicts her relationship with her boyfriend as perfect in the letter, but when she arrives in town, she wonders why they are even still together. This characterization seems very realistic about how a young woman might consider a not-so-fabulous long distance relationship. Salinger uses methods like that one to depict Franny’s confusion and, truly, her humanity.
Another way writers can learn from Salinger’s writing is his use of dialogue. Franny and her boyfriend, Lane, are very disconnected and this is shown mainly through dialogue. While he treats her nicely, he ignores everything about her life and brags about what he is currently doing in college. Salinger describes her as seeming to “have been listening with extra-special intentness.” But the next thing out of her mouth is “You going to eat your olive, or what?” This page of dialogue depicts their relationship nicely. Lane is self-focused, arrogant, and inconsiderate. She is bored with him, doesn’t love him, and is hoping by going through the motions of looking interested, that she will develop feelings for him again. A writer should be able to tell the reader everything he needs to know about the characters within the story without stating it directly through the narrator’s voice and does in Salinger’s work.
His dialogue is also very colloquial and shows the intelligence level of the speaker. He does this artfully though and does not stick to stereotypes. Franny messes up the pronunciation of a few words, which upsets her boyfriend. While they both are pretty intelligent, Lane is more of a text book intellectual while Franny is someone who contemplates life and her processes of thought. Zooey is extremely witty and sarcastic, intelligent, and has a couldn’t-care-less attitude. This comes out in his dialogue through his sassiness. Mrs. Glass, their mother, is an ex-vaudeville performer and is extremely overbearing; this is exceedingly evident in her discussion with Zooey while he is in the bathtub. This short bit of dialogue tells more about their relationship than description ever could.
Salinger’s work is quite short, having been written in the format of a short story and a novella, but all of his prose writing is compact and succinct without losing any details. Every word on his page was specifically written and kept because it was the only way to convey what he wanted to convey. His deliberations and minute considerations are evident in his word choice. Salinger does not tell the reader, “Zooey was going to play the role of Rick. He had underlined his character’s lines in the manuscript. The lines were heavy because he wanted them to stand out compared to the other parts.” Instead he describes the manuscript and says, “The role of ‘Rick’ had been heavily underlined with a soft-lead pencil.” In this he says exactly what he needs to without any excess. This is something writers need to be exceptionally careful to stick to in this age where attention spans have been shortened and readers are getting used to shorter and shorter bursts of information like through Twitter.
Other than his craft of writing, writers can learn one more very important lesson from Salinger. His writing style is otherwise perfect, but he tends to push his views. Salinger, himself, was fascinated by Eastern Religions and quested to find a belief worth living for. While part of Franny’s humanity is brought about by her search for an unselfish being, in some places the indoctrination is too much. The book centers around Franny’s spiritual and emotional breakdown, but also leaves the reader wondering what Salinger’s solution is.
J. D. Salinger built his writing like a master writer. He began by finding just the right words to enhance his paragraphs and made them short to keep reader’s attention and for the proper flow. He then used vivid and specific details to enliven his characters and make them real to the reader. Salinger then added dialogue to spice up the plot and show more about his characters than he knew he could ever try to tell. His attention to details, characterization, and short but enthralling fiction is enough to inspire any writer.
( )
  KatelynSBolds | Nov 12, 2018 |
Maybe not your thing if you like a lot of action or plot, but if you like a cerebral, thinking book, this is the one. Similar to Catcher in the Rye about a lost soul in need of rescuing. ( )
  charlie68 | Nov 11, 2018 |
Part of the Glass Saga. I wouldn't start with this one if you are just getting into Salinger though. He definitely has a distinctive style that takes some getting used to. That said, I loved this book-- you can't help but feel like the characters are your own. Wonderful. ( )
  Borrows-N-Wants | Sep 22, 2018 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
As nearly as possible in the spirit of Matthew Salinger, age one, urging a luncheon companion to accept a cool lima bean, I urge my editor, mentor and (heaven help him) closest friend, William Shawn, genius domus of the New Yorker, lover of the long shot, protector of the unprolific, defender of the hopelessly flamboyant, most unreasonably modest of born great artist-editors, to accept this pretty skimpy-looking book.
First words
Franny: Though brilliantly sunny, Saturday morning was overcoat weather again, not just topcoat weather, as it had been all week and as everyone had hoped it would stay for the big weekend - the weekend of the Yale game.
Zooey: The facts at hand presumably speak for themselves, but a trifle more vulgarly, I suspect, than facts even usually do.
Quotations
Then, like so many people, who, perhaps, ought to be issued only a very probational pass to meet trains, he tried to empty his face of all expression that might quite simply, perhaps even beautifully, reveal how he felt about the arriving person.
I'm sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.
The worst thing that being an artist could do to you would be that it would make you slightly unhappy constantly.
The Glasses' living room was about as unready to have its walls repainted as a room could be.
The little girl on the plane
who turned her doll's head around to look at me
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
The little girl on the plane
who turned her doll's head around
to look at me

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316769029, Paperback)

The author writes: FRANNY came out in The New Yorker in 1955, and was swiftly followed, in 1957 by 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. It is a long-term project, patently an ambiguous one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locutions, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I've been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:00 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Meet Franny and her younger brother, Zooey, in two Salinger stories.

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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