After reading Nine Stories together, Courtney, Jo, and I decided to continue our Salinger book club with Franny and Zooey.
How i wish we could sit around cups of coffee, our copy in our laps (underlined, i'm sure) discussing our reactions and how we felt this time round.
Until we can, for this book cub pick we all presented a question for each of us to answer.
Jo asked, "In Zooey, our narrator says, "I know the difference between a mystical story and a love story. I say that my current offering isn't a mystical story, or a religiously mystifying story, at all. I say it's a compound, or multiple, love story, pure and complicated." Do you feel that "Zooey" is a love story or a mystical story? Why?
What I love most about Salinger is his way of writing about human connection-- that you read it like a love story even if it's not exactly romantic love. Zooey is a love story more than a mystical one. Yes, religion is the backdrop and a huge part of this story, but deeper than that is a brother trying to help his sister out of her confused, consuming darkness. Even when he seems to have made it worse and walks away (because isn't that how it happens in real life?), he thinks of a different approach, a light hearted one to get to Franny. He gives her a reason for it all (the "fat lady") and that finally gives his sister much needed peace.
Courtney asked, Which character did you connect with the most? Was it the sarcastic "freak" Zooey, the over thinker and crisis ridden Franny, the hermit Buddy, or the worrying Bessie? Or maybe it was someone completely different like Lane!
I would have to say Franny, and not just because i tend to over think everything but I remember going through a small crisis in high school. Of course I was blind to it all, but thank God my twin sister was my Zooey.
I asked, Of the three we've read, which book would your recommend of Salinger's? Why?
I enjoyed Franny and Zooey for all the reasons i've come to appreciate Salinger's style of writing-- that it reads more like a play and it's based solely on dialogue between characters rather than any active plot. Yet, I don't think this is the book I would recommend to someone being introduced to J.D. Salinger or as your next must-read. Instead, I'd give you my copy of Nine Stories. It's the only one i loved as a whole the whole way through. I'd tell you that if you never read a sentence of Salinger's, it'd be a shame to miss this one.
And because I'm a lover of quotes, here are key sentences that stuck out to me in Franny and Zooey:
"She was wearing a navy-blue reefer and a tam that was very nearly the same shade of red as the blanket on the bed in Van Gogh's room at Arles." -pg 151
"It happens to be one of those days when I see everybody in the family, including myself, through the wrong end of a telescope." -pg 58
"Let's just try to have a marvelous time this weekend. I mean not try to analyze everything to death for once, if possible. Especially me. I love you." -pg 6
Once again, I enjoyed reading that much more with these two girls and I can't wait to see what they thought. Read Jo's answers here // Courtney's answers here.