I picked up Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger at the recommendation of my friend and fellow book club member, Ms. PH.
An interrelated compilation of two stories from Salinger’s Glass series, Franny and Zooey is a short read. I had previously enjoyed reading Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories, both works of Salinger.
The much shorter Frannyrevolves around a weekend outing of the title character and her boyfriend. Her behavior grows more erratic as the story unfolds. She reveals that she has recently read a book called The Way of the Pilgrim and that it has inspired her to attempt to pray without ceasing as it is recommended in scripture. Saying the “Jesus Prayer” constantly is a sure path to enlightenment. At the end of the story she faints and returns to her family. Zooeyis the story of Franny’s nervous breakdown and her family’s reaction to it. At the urging of their mother, Zooey (Franny’s older brother) attempts to break through to Franny. Much of the family’s background is revealed through their conversations, as well as some insight in to the purpose behind Franny’s actions.
One thing I noticed about Salinger’s writing in Franny and Zooey is that the majority of the plot is revealed through conversation. This is an unique technique and nothing is lost in the telling of the story.
I haven’t decided yet how I feel about this book. I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t love it. Like some great literature, the value of this book may not have been in the reading but in the lesson it imparts.