The book ends with both of the characters covered in this two story collection having a moment when the truth is spelt out in order to save them from falling apart struggling to be normal. Zooey plays an interesting role as psychoanalyst, damaged brother and bitter actor but pushes himself into places he would have otherwise avoided to try to help his sister Franny snap out of her despair.
Highlights from pages 106 – 131
After having failed to pull Franny out of her breakdown with his bitter logical arguments about the Jesus prayer and what sort of person Jesus was Zooey walks out of the lounge. You suspect he is leaving for the lunch appointment he has mentioned several times but instead he heads for Seymour and Buddy’s room and from them after an hour of getting into the role phones up pretending to be Buddy. Franny comes on the line and attacks Zooey for being bitter and lecturing and then she realises that it is Zooey and finally her brother gets through to her.
The turning point is when he tells her that without her knowledge Zooey and Buddy travelled up to see her act in a college play. He tells her she was brilliant but there is no point being superior to some segments of the audience because looking for a good audience is a search that will destroy her. She should enjoy the talent she has and accept that the world is not full of similarly minded people.
A review will follow this weekend…