2016 Reading Challenge | Book Four

Franny and Zooey

I chose read Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger for the category, “a book published before you were born,” in Modern Mrs. Darcey’s Reading Challenge. That is a pretty wide open category, but in high school I loved The Catcher in the Rye, so it seemed fitting to read another Salinger piece.

Many you were probably aware (but for those of you, like me, who weren’t) Franny and Zooey were originally published separately in The New Yorker as short stories. I enjoy the structure of short stories. I need to read more of them!

Franny and Zooey are the two youngest siblings in the Glass family. The Glass family is featured in many of Salinger’s published work for The New Yorker. These stories date from the late 40s all the way up to 1965. It’s like the print version of a soap opera! I wonder why he chose to share this families story in this medium versus writing a novel.

“There are no big changes between ten and twenty — or ten and eighty, for that matter.”

Between the two, I enjoyed Franny more than Zooey. The stories relate to one another, so they should be read congruently. In Franny, we follow Franny as she meets her boyfriend, Lane, at a Yale function. The same night in which she experiences an inevitable spiritual crisis of faith.

Zooey, being her immediate older brother, is called in by their mother, Bessie, to hopefully coax the meaning behind her breakdown.

Short story authors expect the reader to not fully understand everything going on, which I find fascinating. Instead, we begin in the middle of a conversation and infer the rest.

Have you read Franny and Zooey?

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