I’ll be perfectly frank: I am not JD Salinger’s biggest fan by any stretch of the imagination (Holden Caulfield can go choke on his teenage angst for all I care), and expected to hate this book.
But I loved it. There are several reasons for this – for one thing, all of Holden Caulfield’s irritating speech habits, like his overuse of the word “crumby” and the way he insists on referring to his little sister as “old Phoebe”, are missing from the dialogue, which I was extremely grateful for.
There’s definitely a Holden-like character in Franny and Zooey, but what makes this story much more enjoyable than Catcher in the Rye is this: someone actually takes the time to sit the Holden Caulfield mimic down and say, “Okay, here’s the deal: you need to pull your head out of your ass and quit whining, because your life is not nearly as terrible as you think it is. Lighten the hell up before I smack you upside the head.” (not a direct quote, obviously, but you get the idea)
Now tell me you didn’t want to say that exact same thing to Holden at least once. I know I did.
Verdict: four out of five stars