Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
Little, Brown and Co., 1961
201 pgs, 3 stars
SUMMARY: The first time I read Franny and Zooey I was suffering from a Catcher in the Rye hangover and need some Salinger to cure me. I was in high school and liked F and Z at the time ok, but it was never my favorite. I recently reread it because I reread Catcher in the Rye and had the same hangover.
Franny is having a nervous breakdown. The ambitious egos of her professors and fellow students are tearing down her faith in humanity. To rebuild it, Franny is reading “The Pilgrim’s Way,” and consequently begins chanting the Jesus Prayer to herself, all the while not sure if she even believes in Christianity. She might like Buddhism better. Or maybe she just likes the idea of religion but can never actually bring herself to believe.
Plus, her brother, Zooey, is being a complete a-hole and confusing her even more. Also an actor, Zooey lives with his parents in New York. He’s a beautiful, soulless creature that takes a sad pleasure in tearing people down. But he’s not to blame! (Salinger seems to say) He’s just too smart for a world that is obsessed with meaninglessness and drowning in its own unoriginality.
FASHION: Despite your nervous breakdown, you’re a lady! The long, kelly-green skirt (typical of the 1950s) matches the only color on the cover perfectly. You may be a mess of cat hair and tears, but at least you match.
Show everyone there is more to you than this boring book cover by wearing borderline-slutty shoes that bring a little beauty and spunk into your recently sullied world.
Let rebellion bubble to the surface with the graphic tee ambiguously shouting “RELIGION.” And further confuse any onlookers about your religious affiliation by wearing Christian AND Buddhist jewelry.
Sleek cropped hair will make you look the part of a pretty college girl/future actress. Plus, it’ll keep the hair out of your face when you’re swooning in public places.