11 January 2014 Leave a comment
Author: J.D. Salinger
Summary: The Stories:
“A Perfect Day for Bananafish” (1948)
“Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut” (1948)
“Just Before the War with the Eskimos” (1948)
“The Laughing Man” (1949)
“Down at the Dinghy” (1949)
“For Esmé – with Love and Squalor” (1950)
“Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes” (1951)
“De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period” (1952)
Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5
Review: I do love Salinger’s writing, and i think he is particularly suited to short stories. Even his novels are short. With so few words he can show so much. And Salinger is definitely a writer who shows, rather than tells, and i love that.
The stories that stuck with me the most from this book were the first and the last.
A Perfect Day for Bananafish was as excellent start. I’m not sure how gradually more shocked i was getting as i read it said more about me or the story. It didn’t go in the direction i thought it was going, but i think i was right nonetheless. I daren’t say any more about it.
Teddy was a nice enough story until about two-thirds of the way in, when it became a riveting story. Teddy is a young, intelligent and interesting young boy on a boat trip… but he’s also so much more.
Salinger drops the reader into these narratives, these worlds and these characters’ lives without explanations and lets you catch up and draw your own conclusions as you go along. I find myself instantly drawn into the story that way; i immediately want to know what’s going on.
Each story is not action packed or teaching morals or has big surprises or even clear cut story lines. Each story is merely a glimpse into the lives of the characters. Some of the glimpses are significant and clearly life changing (A Perfect Day for Bananafish, For Esmé – with Love and Squalor, Teddy). Others are more like character studies and/or are heavy with interaction (Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, Just Before the War with the Eskimos, Down at the Dinghy, Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes). And some are simply simple stories offering a more typical beginning, middle and end (The Laughing Man, De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period).
I enjoyed them all. I hated not a single one. Every single character was flawed and perfect. Every story gave me something to take away.
J.D. Salinger may not be an exciting writer, but with his quiet observations, realistic dialogue and talent for showing not telling, he is an exceptional one.
This is the first book i’ve read from my Classics Club list. Yay!