franny and zooey. book review

Book Review: Franny & Zooey

Franny and ZooeyFranny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Franny and Zooey. What was the book about, anyway, if not about what we do to ourselves in a world of criticism and judgment, when we get carried along that way and lose sight of what our indy purposes are, if not about what happens to a family that was once seemingly so united and celebrated for its little unit of togetherness and genius, when it deteriorates and gets cut up by suicide and sending some to war and leaving the rest to smoke and think and worry and carry on in pursuit of something or in pursuit of not pursuing anything, detachment, if not about the funny window into a messy nuclear home life and the quirkiness of moms and sons and sisters, if not about prep schools and homecoming football games and lunches and fainting spells… if it wasn’t about all that, to me, it was about something a bit more thoughtful, less fanciful, more serious even grave, gravely concerned with how we go about our lives faced with the butchers and fat ladies, the disappointments, the faded dreams and painful realities, the fakers finally unmasked and left with what if i’m a faker too, the horrifying naked truth somewhere… and alot of this was also covered in the Catcher In the Rye, so you know it was Salinger in that little bunker on his property in NH where he stole away for weeks at a time in his infantry boots and clothes, probably touching his dogtags from time to time not knowing day or night, night or day, trying to get off the edges and into the heart of something even if it left him with no peace of mind, celebrated in a world he once wanted to celebrate him then reclused himself from, the painful residuals of an earlier attachment, having to detach but going on writing all the same and living a pretty damn long and pretty well respected, earned kinda life… not caring about being prolific or getting his work out even while he was alive necessarily… and i love that about the man and the work… and what i most love about Franny and Zooey whatever it was about, was the smallness of the book in my hands, and the spareness of the cover, the clever east meets west font… but most of all, just the way the two grown kids got around-about-way to the heart-centered business of helping one another out. That’s what i loved about it most of all.

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Catcher in the Rye – book review

The Catcher in the RyeThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I made a reading room out of my back room the other day. I put that big old chair that’s been getting decimated by the weather these past two years inside, and a blanket over it, and a light over it, and the first book I read in there was Catcher in the Rye. The same copy with the 1985 cover, you know, the maroon one with the yellow title. I got it from my family and now the pages are yellow and the cover fell off a long time ago and I pinned it to my wall behind my desk. I like to think my dad gave it to me in a really gorgeous way, like he told me some kinda sentimental thing with his eyes gone watery. I know that’s not really how it happened, though, because that’s what he did with his copy of Nine Stories. I’d rather he gave me Catcher than Nine Stories. Even if I liked eight of them. I don’t even know I still have Nine Stories, anyway, if you know what I mean. I think I may have just seen Catcher on his book shelf and just wanted it so bad I just took it. Stole it from my dad. Really madman. I feel so honored that Holden Caufield shared his thoughts with me, I would never go and kill anybody and blame it on the book. How come so many people did that? Way back before it was published, JD Salinger went to New York and read his book to an editor there. Up in some skyscraper office. He got so upset when the guy told him Holden was really crazy and they could not publish a goddam book with a goddam crazy narrator. They say he ran out of the office and was crying. They say that’s because Salinger was Holden. That’s what they say. People have a funny way of saying things as though they were truth, when it’s really guesswork… anyway, I know I’m talking about things you probably could care less about. You know what happens when I get to talking. I want you to know I thought of you today. Only for a little while, you know what can happen when I think for too long. I wanted all the thoughts to be good ones, but some of the not so good ones approached me too. I told them go away. They sorta edged up and stayed, and I realized I would be wrong to tell them go away when they had a right to be there, too. But I think you should read this book. It might not make you feel better, but it’s will make you feel. I think it’s very honest. I know it took me a long time to get there. But I got there, didn’t I?

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