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Franny and Zooey Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1991

4.2 out of 5 stars 349 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Volume containing two interrelated stories by J.D. Salinger, published in book form in 1961. The stories, originally published in The New Yorker magazine, concern Franny and Zooey Glass, two members of the family that was the subject of most of Salinger's short fiction. Franny is an intellectually precocious late adolescent who tries to attain spiritual purification by obsessively reiterating the "Jesus prayer" as an antidote to the perceived superficiality and corruptness of life. She subsequently suffers a nervous breakdown. In the second story, her next older brother, Zooey, attempts to heal Franny by pointing out that her constant repetition of the "Jesus prayer" is as self-involved and egotistical as the egotism against which she rails. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

About the Author

Salinger attended a military academy in Pennsylvania and three colleges.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (May 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316769495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316769495
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (349 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in New York in 1919, Jerome David Salinger dropped out of several schools before enrolling in a writing class at Columbia University, publishing his first piece ("The Young Folks") in Story magazine. Soon after, the New Yorker picked up the heralded "A Perfect Day for Bananafish," and more pieces followed, including "Slight Rebellion off Madison" in 1941, an early Holden Caulfield story. Following a stint in Europe for World War II, Salinger returned to New York and began work on his signature novel, 1951's "The Catcher in the Rye," an immediate bestseller for its iconoclastic hero and forthright use of profanity. Following this success, Salinger retreated to his Cornish, New Hampshire, home where he grew increasingly private, eventually erecting a wall around his property and publishing just three more books: "Nine Stories," "Franny and Zooey," "Raise High the Roof Beam, and Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction." Salinger was married twice and had two children. He died of natural causes on January 27, 2010, in New Hampshire at the age of 91.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book consists of two interrelated stories about members of the Glass family. These kids (seven of them if I remember well) are the children of a showbusiness family from New York and they used to be genius-kids who appeared on a radio show answering quizzes and philosophizing. Apparently the Glass kids had a special education in an ecumenical religiosity and philosophy, and their situation as whiz kids has led to emotional distress, much a-la Holden Caulfield but more illustrated. By the way, in terms of its central themes, this book could be said to be the closing of the full circle of Caulfield's story. The Glasses, just like Caulfield, are intelligent people, very frustrated with the inadequacies of life in general and the people who surround them. They are very neurotic in a New York way. They are angry because people aren't as intelligent as they should be, and because the ways of the world are not what reason and humanism tell us they should be. How to cope with it?

In the first story, Franny, a young college girl, arrives in New Haven (Yale) to be with her preppy and also intellectualizing boyfriend for a football weekend. They go to a cafe to have some food (and drinks and cigarettes). The story is simply the account of their talk. Salinger is one of the greatest masters of frenzied and fast dialogue, and it shows here. Franny is telling his boyfriend about all the phoniness of campus life, about the lunacy and presumptuosness of teachers and classmates. She tells him how she has read a book about a Russian monk who discovers a special Jesus prayer. If you repeat this prayer incessantly, it will become a part of you and repeat itself automatically, bringing you closer to grace and peace.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Many Salinger fans, upon reading Franny and Zooey, are quick to draw comparisons to Catcher In the Rye. That was exactly what I did the first time I read this novel nearly twenty five years ago; but after several years of lauding Franny and Zooey as the pinochle of Salinger's work, it dawned on me that while there are angry or confused youngsters who feel like societal misfits in each novel, they come from such different worlds that comparing the two stories is just, well... apples & oranges.

What made Franny and Zooey more endearing to me was the family dynamics. In contrast to Catcher in the Rye's focus on Holden Caulfield's unhappiness as an individual, the nervous breakdown that Franny Glass suffers early in the story has more to do with being a member of the Glass Family than it does her individual anxieties. And unlike Holden, who is coping in the larger world, Franny suffers as a shut-in at the home she grew up in.

I believe that most people who have dealt with well meaning but misguided families will find themselves drawn toward this story. The Glass Family is one of the finest examples of a large and dysfunctional family (before it was cool to be dysfunctional), with an emotionally charged but diverse collection of grown children dealing with the complexeties of their upbringing.

The story focuses equally on Franny and her older brother Zooey. They are two youngest children in the Glass Family, raised by their parents and older siblings on vaudeville style entertainment, philosophy and intelligentsia. While Franny's breakdown seems a mystery to her and paralyzes her emotions, Zooey is pent up with anger and well too aware of the emotional wreckage their upbringing has left the Glass offspring to clean up.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Salinger's critics (including the honorable John Updike, jealous perhaps?) denounce Salinger's great love for his Glass Family. Others criticize the message of this novel, a transcendent,soaring message of hope and forgiveness. Maybe these traits are not popular with the traditionally cynical critic's circle, but the message and style of this novel have changed my life. These couple of stories are written so beautifully and subtley, while eliciting a strong, immediate emotional reaction in the reader. Franny is an extraordinary girl, but a universal enough character that I am continually able to identify with her and her struggles with sprituality and the phoniness of ego and self-centeredness. Salinger has encouraged me to start writing, to maybe convey some sort of simple truth through the written word. This book, like "Raise High.." and "Nine Stories," is mind bogglingly good. A masterpiece. Writer's should not be limited to the worldly, the material. Salinger dares to account for a greater force in our lives, and that's why we shine our shoes, even when we're on the radio.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book means to me what a good book should: it touches a part of my heart I didn't know could be touched by another human being. That's what I love so much about J.D. Salinger, the way he taps into the human psyche so adeptly. I can't think of any other authors that can deliver that way. And yet, if that's not the purpose of writing, what is?

Franny and Zooey Glass are two hyper-critical, overanalytical young adults living on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Throughout the book, we watch Franny (f) go through the stages of a nervous breakdown while simultaneously turning to a phrase found in a religious book for guidance, and her older brother Zooey (m) try to help her while grappling with the same issues of modern society that she is. There is also their seemingly ignorant mother, who does nothing except agitate Zooey and pointlessly fawn over Franny, and the other members of the isolated, eclectic family.

The arc of this book is amazing. I won't give away the lesson Zooey finally is able to impart to his sister, suffice it to say that Mrs. Glass doesn't look quite so bad when the story is finished.
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