12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Indulgent yet perfect,
This review is from: Franny and Zooey (Paperback)
Salinger described this as a "pretty flimsy book". The vast majority of writers out there should be so lucky if they can write something as wonderful as this. The attention to detail lays a spell over me every time I read this book, which I have done on a regular basis for the past fifteen or so years. It is incredibly indulgent; the decription of the Glass living room is little more than an artsy list, yet it's so wonderfully delivered that you are right there, staring at the root beer stain from behind the couch. The three characters; the frail, needy Franny (a fifties version of Charlotte in Lost in Translation), acrid, hyper-critical Zooey, and their irrepressible mother deserve each other in more ways than one. Basically, it's crunch time in the young life of Franny Glass, who has found that she cannot cope outside the cosy, intellectual confines of her own family, with more than one ghost, one of whom (Buddy) is still alive, yet seems more intent in lecturing them from beyond the metaphorical grave of his cabin in the back of beyond. In an effort to counter the "phonies" at college, she has taken to a sort of ascetic lifestyle, the focal point of which is a spiritual book, revolving around an endlessly recited prayer. Both brother and mother callously try to bludgeon this out of her, one with kind offers of chicken broth, and the other, with long, detailed critiques of her methods. The poor girl copes in the only way she can; by crying lots and blowing her nose. But you learn a vast amount about this family, and you discover they are not so eccentric as their methods and choices of self-expression might at first suggest. In short, both brother and sister discover something, and it's more than worth discovering along with them. There are many great books, but there are no books like Franny and Zooey, and there won't be again. Catcher was his greatest achievement, without a doubt, but I prefer this book. Although, these days, I seem to side more and more with the mother!