Salinger has yet to fail me. He manages to create characters that are flawed, but simultaneously irresistible. There is no evidence of effort in his characterizations, the characters just are. The scene with Zooey in the bathtub while his mother carries on with a conversation he would clearly like to discontinue, mimics real life to a tee. It’s hilarious and utterly tragic at the same time. The description of the mother’s “robe” is especially humorous and provides a glimpse into her character.
I read Franny and Zooey alongside The Way of the Pilgrim (The little green book Franny becomes obsessed with). If you have not yet read Franny and Zooey or have read it and want to read it again, I highly recommend also reading The Way of the Pilgrim. It put the book in an entirely different context for me. It was almost as though I was experiencing the book with Franny. The Pilgrim Continues his Way, the sequel/second half of The Way of the Pilgrim, I did not find nearly as engaging, so don’t feel guilty about skipping that part.
Franny and Zooey remains one of my favorite books. Salinger’s flawless writing and fantastic characters are both companions of whom I can never get sick.