Classics Club: Franny & Zooey

Yay for me! Another Classics Club book off of the list! For those who aren’t familiar, The Classics Club is a challenge to pick classics (at least 50) and read them all over the next 5 years. For those who read my initial list you know it’s more of a “books I always wanted to read or re-read.” Most of my list is re-reads of books I either loved as a kid or want to re-vist, books I was supposed to read, and books that I love the author and want to experience more of their work. The plan is to have my list of 50 all read by December 28, 2020.

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Franny & Zooey – J.D. Salinger

Fiction – Classics

Summary

Franny & Zooey are the youngest of seven children in the Glass family. All of the siblings are considered precocious to the point they were all on a radio quiz show as children. We are introduced to Franny as she is, a young woman in college who is excited to spend the weekend with her “lovely” boyfriend Lane at the Yale football game. However, shortly after she arrives she gets increasingly exhausted with all of the phoniness around her (see: Catcher in the Rye). This culminates in her going home sick after she becomes so fed up and disgusted with Lane and all of his English Lit major speak. As Lane finds out, and tells her family, the weariness is caused by her new obsession with a book she is reading about constant prayer. In the Zooey section (chapter), we are introduced to him as he sits in the bath reading a letter from his brother Buddy explaining why Zooey should continue to pursue acting. The rest of the story focuses on Zooey’s confrontational conversations with his mother, Bessie, and Franny and her obsession.

Thoughts

So I don’t actually have as much experience as I wanted with Salinger before reading this book. I read Catcher in the Rye in high school and liked it, but I never loved it like other people loved it. So I approached this book with mixed feelings. Getting that out of the way, I really liked this book and will probably read the other stories following this family because I found them to be way more enjoyable.

I think what drew me to this book, more than to Catcher, was the pure joyfulness of it all. This book was hilarious to read and everyone once in awhile I’d find myself going “you’re right Zooey, people suck.” The fact that Salinger is able to talk about what is some pretty serious subject matter while still making it fun is what I loved. Especially all of the scenes between Zooey and Bessie…those were golden. So all in all I’m not sure I’ll ever read this but I will be on the lookout for other Salinger books about the Glass family. Any recs?

 

Quotes

“I’m sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.”

“She was not one for emptying her face of expression. ”

“Bessie: ‘Why don’t you get married?’ Zooey: ‘I like riding in trains too much. You never get to sit next to the window anymore when you’re married.”

“Phooey, I say, on all white-shoe college boys who edit their campus literary magazines. Give me an honest con man any day.”

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