Genre: Fiction, Philosophy, short story, novella

Notes: Apparently Zooey is a boy’s name.  When I started this book, I legitimately thought it was going to be about lesbians.

Review: According to Wikipedia, Franny and Zooey is actually two separate short stories named “Franny” and (surprise!) “Zooey.”  Which, now that I know, it makes total sense.  The books felt like two halves that related, but weren’t totally the same story.

Nothing happens in this book.  Nothing.  There is next to no plot.  The first part of the book focuses on Franny, and the way she feels everything is “inauthentic” around her.  She meets her boyfriend, Lane, for a weekend away from school and rails on him about how college isn’t worth it, no one teaches anything real, and it’s all a big sham.

The second half of the book takes place after Franny and Lane’s conversation and involves both Franny and her older brother Zooey.  Franny is basically having a nervous breakdown and Zooey offers her some (what he thinks of) as kind, older-brother advice.

And that’s it.  I have just summed up the plot of Franny and Zooey.

However, even though nothing “happens” I actually liked the novel.  For those of you who know me well, you know I hated “The Catcher in the Rye” and wanted Holden Caulfield to just hurry up and kill himself.  (I’m a nice person, I swear) I found him incredibly irritating.  When people say “The Catcher in the Rye changed my life!”  I can’t help but think “Why?!” “Franny and Zooey” has a similar theme of finding authenticity in an inauthentic world, but I didn’t hate it.  It might be time to give “The Catcher in the Rye” a chance again.

This novella/short story is a pretty quick read.  The beginning (Franny’s piece) is a short story while the second half is a novella – the short story take an hour or two to read and I think I finished the book not long after that.

Salinger wrote about this fictitious Glass family in a few of his story stories.  Most notably, Franny and Zooey’s older brother show up in the story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” which I read in college.  It’s confusing and weird, but Salinger lived most of his life as a recluse hiding from the public eye, so what can you expect?

Bottom Line: If you liked “The Catcher in the Rye” or any of Salinger’s other short stories, you will like “Franny and Zooey.”  He has a distinct style and flair and, if you like one, you’ll probably like all of his short stories/novels.