Friday, March 25, 2011

All about the characters

Today I finished Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan and Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger.

I really enjoyed Boy Meets Boy. It was a really quick, fun read. At times the characters or setting felt a bit too unbelievable, but that was kind of OK because you could accept the scenarios without everything having to be 100% real. I don't know if it makes sense when I say it, but just trust me, and when you read it, you'll understand what I mean.

Boy Meets Boy somehow manages to deal with real issues in teenagerdom (and life) like love and loss and the complexities of both. Beyond anything, it has a message of friendship and hope. It's hard to explain, but it's just a sort of understanding that you glean from the book, even if it isn't explicitly written in the words on the page. Anyway, I certainly recommend it.

Franny and Zooey took me a bit longer to read even though it isn't that much longer. After a while, I just got incredibly annoyed with the characters. I think that's 0 for 2 on Salinger's characters since I don't think anyone is overly fond of Holden Caufield. But that's a separate issue.

Franny and Zooey are two of the seven Glass children, all of whom had a peculiar childhood. As readers, we only ever meet Franny and Zooey, and let's just say these two don't seem like the most well-adjusted of young 20-somethings. That being said, life isn't incredibly difficult for them and they seem to get through life pretty easily.

To be honest, the narrative of this book isn't incredibly exciting. It jumps forward a bit from the first half (Franny) to the second (Zooey) without much of an explanation, but there doesn't appear to be much to explain. Nothing incredibly important or interesting really happens until the end. The rest is some description and mostly dialogue. I guess if a book is going to be primarily dialogue, I'd prefer for the characters to be likable. These characters were just annoying and somewhat vapid, despite their use of big words and theoretically high IQs.

Overall, I didn't hate the book. I didn't love it though. I guess I'm just somewhere in between.

Maybe I'm just all about the characters. Characters in Boy Meets Boy: flawed, but adorable and fun. Characters in Franny and Zooey: either flat, or dynamic, but somewhat unlikable.

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