In the article in Oprah.com, we only get one quote by John Cusack of why Salinger’s story collection, Franny & Zooey, is important to him,
“This book was my introduction to theology.”
MOTIVATION for READING: Purchased for my John Cusack Reading Challenge.
WHAT’s it ABOUT: In the Franny story, a college girl takes a train to meet her Ivy-league boyfriend to attend the Yale football game, but… well, they don’t quite make it to the football game but do have the chance to share conversation at lunch. The Zooey story (Zooey is Franny’s older brother) involves Franny once she’s home and how her family deals with the episode in the Franny story. Is that enough and yet reveals nothing?
WHAT’s GOOD/not so GOOD: The Franny story was slow to get going. I almost gave up and it was at that time that I thought of this idea to discuss this for my first bookclub choice! I didn’t want to give up on it, hoping that others might be able to explain what I needed to ‘get’ from this. Eventually, the suspense began to build of what the heck was going on. I couldn’t quite figure it out (OK, I wondered if she was pregnant but somehow suspected that was totally wrong); but I was distracted by my own assumptions about the 50s and the somesuch pseudo-intellectualism concept. Actually, the Franny story leaves the reader hanging – we don’t really know what Franny was going through until we get more of her background in the Zooey story. I loved almost everything in the Zooey part; the setup and framing of the narrator as the absent oldest brother, the crazy family, the unorthodox education that Franny and Zooey received from the older brothers, and even the endless lighting of cigarettes and ceaseless flicking of ashes. And the religion.
The existential question: Why are we here? For spiritual enlightenment? Yep, I need to re-read this before tomorrow.
RATING: Four slices of pie.
Part 2 up next…