Dysfunction, junction… this collection’s a malfunction.

Last week, Mr. I don’t-want-to-be-famous-so-I-am-going-into-hiding-and-this-will-actually-make-me-even-more-famous J.D. Salinger, passed away. At 91, and with just three notable works, he became an American icon of the literary landscape. My project partner in crime Deejah and I decided to honor his passing by reading FRANNY AND ZOOEY, which–surprisingly–neither of us had read.

I will start by saying that I am so thankful my first exposure to Salinger was The Catcher in the Rye. I absolutely loved the angst-ridden, mentally unhealthy Holden Caulfield. It seemed ahead of its time even at the time that I read it.

While Salinger keeps with some familiar themes and territory in these stories, their execution falls nothing short of disastrous. The title characters are the youngest of Salinger’s fictional Glass family. The Glass children, 7 or 9 in total (I honestly don’t remember), grew up in the spotlight while having appeared multiple times on a television quiz show. Now adults, Franny is on leave from college suffering a nervous breakdown and her brother Zooey is… how can I put this? An asshole. Oh yes, they have suffered the ills of growing up in the limelight and the loss of their oldest sibling Seymour (by his own hand), but I am not sure what the reader is supposed to take away from these two stories.

Immediately it felt like I had walked in on on a behind-closed-door conversation that was not juicy, but boringly cringe-worthy. The dialogue is long and the characters long-winded. It came across as overtly pretentious and I just really didn’t care about these indivuduals. Franny is a blubbering mess and Zooey spends the bulk of his story insulting everyone around him in a callous and arrogant manner. I found nothing redeeming about this book except for its slender size and the reality that I could quickly move on to something more enjoyable.

Rating: 1 star
Pages: 201
Genre: Fiction, short stories