Jaws by Peter Benchley [Book]

Jaws by Peter BenchleyJaws is the tale of a marriage on the edge of failure. Chief Brody, head of the Amity police, is married to Ellen. They’ve three kids. He’s a native of the area; one of the poor boys who spent his days on the beaches while the rich folks came down to vacation from the big cities. She’s from one of those big cities, from one of those rich families, and since she married Chief Brody she’s been an outsider amongst the natives and outsider amongst the tourists. She belongs nowhere and feels herself wasting away in the tiny beach town, and she pines for what once was.

Jaws is the tale of shady land speculation, organized crime and local governmental corruption, wherein another poor local boy “makes good,” becomes Mayor, becomes one of the “nouveau riche,” then winds up putting lives at risk to save his own skin and pay his bad debts.

Oh yeah … Jaws is also the tale of a killer shark that starts eating swimmers off the coast of Amity. Chief Brody, Matt Hooper and Quint (the infamous modern Ahab captured so wonderfully by Robert Shaw in Spielberg’s movie, although he only shows up in the book in the last eighty pages after one brief half page cameo early on) go out and try to save the people and Amity’s economy by catching the greatest of great white sharks. It all feels like an afterthought, a tacked on third act of a book that never knew what it wanted to be, and the total lack of closure as the novel ends is pretty disappointing.

Once again, the movie proves to be better than the book. Much, much better.

GOODREADS.COM  – written by author of Existence CostsBrad Simkulet

Brad Simkulet

Brad Simkulet

First things first, until now I had never heard of Brad Simkulet.  But I must say that I desperately want to now.  As I was scouring the internet for a brief plot summary of this book, I became seriously aggravated, as one could expect when you are trying to find the summary of the book that birthed the original “Summer Blockbuster” movie of the same title 40 years ago.  But Mr. Simkulet absolutely hit the nail on the head, and just about said everything I wanted to say about the book in the comments section of Goodreads.com.  And in even greater honesty, I don’t think I could truly put anything in to words (although you know I will try) that works as great as Brad’s compelling comments were.  So if you were to stop reading right now, and just go check out Brad Simkulet’s account on Goodreads, or look in to his own novel Existence Costs, I would not be upset.  It is exactly what I would do after reading this paragraph of assertion of dumbassery.

The primary reason I feel as though I am not the right person to be doing this review is based around and ideal I would have never thought about before.  You see, I have never watched the film Jaws.  (pause for gasps) Yes, I’ve never laid eyes on the original blockbuster.  It’s not as though I am some sort of anti-commericialism hipster who absolutely will NOT enjoy a massive hit film that cost as much to make as a third world country earns in cocaine or human trafficking profits.  I do like them.  Well, not most of them.  I’m actually straining to really think of one, but I know I am not against them.  Well, Django Unchained cost $100 million to make, does that count?  No matter, I am straying off topic.  This is the first time that not seeing a movie has impacted my reading of a book before.  Going in to this book was estranged to me because I knew the basic plot, as I have at least a partially function brain and have heard of the infamous man eating shark.

What I was indeed most curious about was how much the characters in this book would matter.  Though I have not seen the film, I could only imagine that the only character any movie goer might give a shit about is the 3 ton shark that is eating sexy bikini legs off (as the movie poster might suggest).  But this was a novel.  The characters had to matter at least a bit more, right?  And as it turns out, they really did!  As much as Mr. Simkulet jests in the quoted text above, this book was really about the people.  The descriptions he makes are absolutely true, and I would not be surprised if they make no sense to anyone reading this review, who has only watched the film.  I know the names of Brodie and Quint are the same as in the film.  I only know this because the infamous filmmaker Kevin Smith named his two main characters in Mallrats after these two.  I’m dead serious about that.  Anyway, I really don’t see it as too of a cry away to imagine that so many of the story lines in this novel where probably highly omitted or erased altogether in attempt to keep the pace of the film moving in the right direction, and to keep the thriller elements alive and ready.  And this is one book-to-film adaptation I believe was done correctly, simply based on reading the actual novel, and hearing what film critics have written about the film.

Peter BenchleyI know I must watch the film adaptation of Jaws someday, and I am sure I will stumble upon it involuntarily.  But, I am glad I read this book, even if there hadn’t been a world famous film adaptation.  It really was a good story.  Although, if it hadn’t fasted around the idea of a giant shark coming around and eating everybody, it could make a very serious and thriving tale of a dying beach community, and the people who populate these summer destinations year in and year out.  The ones who serve you at the seafood joints.  The arcade vendors.  The fishermen guides, etc.  This concept was a blunder for me that I was really getting in to.  So much so that I could give a shit less when they sot out after the big fish, which I hear is a major part of the film.  But, I guess that is just the damn dirty hipster in me who just can’t seem to appreciate a good bit of junk food for the brain with a John Williams score.

I do recommend for people who truly enjoyed the film, to check out the book, and maybe get a new point of view of all the thing Benchley wanted to (but probably didn’t do well) say in this novel.  It’s not exactly Gone With the Wind, a beautiful book with an even more beautiful adaptation, but it could give you a nice new perspective when you pop in your favorite summer blockbuster film again.  Hell, at least you would be reading.  And that can’t be a bad thing, right?

Note: 2014 is the first year for book reviews at Trainwreck’d Society.  We will be making a valiant effort to read and review at least 100 books.  This is review #10.  Be sure to stay in touch and be on the lookout for further reviews throughout 2014.  Be sure to let us know if we are falling behind.  For a complete list of book reviews, click HERE.  Enjoy!

Blue Skies For Black Hearts: Blue Skies For Black Hearts [Album]

Blue Skies For Black Hearts - Blue Skies For Black HeartsThey say nobody knows you like, you.  Well after reading the About section of Blue Skies For Black Hearts, I believe they know themselves very well when they describe their sound as a “five piece pop hammer straight to your brain hole”.  It also saddens me that I couldn’t have thought of that first.  I would have sounded so clever and witty.  But, alas it does not matter, BSFBH were absolutely right in the assessment in their own work.  I would add though, that they are also nailing in a bit of beautiful rhythm with said rock crusher.  And their self-titled debut is a brilliant collection of examples as to why we should be so lucky to endure such pain as a hammer to the head.

Lots of folks in the past have compared Blue Skies For Black Hearts to so many legendary acts that it has almost gotten ridiculous.  “John Lennon and Brian Wilson as one person”?  What does that mean?  I think I understand though.  I think people have lost site on what used to be important in rock and roll music.  Holding a god damned key!  A vocalist who can really harmonize not only with his fellow singers, but with the sound itself.  When I listen to “It’s Gone On To Long” from the latest self titled album, this is what I hear.  Their sound is classic in the sense of beautiful composition, yet still sounds as fresh as oven baked bread at 4:30 a.m.

And as it may come to no surprise to most of you, but Blue Skies For Black Hearts hails from the wonderful city of Portland, Oregon which seems to have a stronghold in reviews at this site.  But, that can be easily understandable considering the fact that Portland holds a stronghold in talent these days.  And Pat Kearns is definitely one of the finest songwriters of the region.  He has taken what started out as a solo project for himself, and added 4 more brilliant folks who all manage to work in beautiful unison, even now on their 4th album as a 5 piece.  And here is to hoping that there are many more to come, for I could listen to this brilliance until the end of time.

Blue Skies For Black Hearts will release their self titled album on July 29th 2014.  Head on over the band’s website to keep and catch up with their wonderful sound.

Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman [Book]

PaddleYourOwnCanoe by Nick OffermanGrowing a perfect moustache, grilling red meat, wooing a woman—who better to deliver this tutelage than the always charming, always manly Nick Offerman, best known as Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson?  Combining his trademark comic voice and very real expertise in woodworking—he runs his own woodshop—Paddle Your Own Canoe features tales from Offerman’s childhood in small-town Minooka, Illinois—�I grew up literally in the middle of a cornfield”—to his theater days in Chicago, beginnings as a carpenter/actor and the hilarious and magnificent seduction of his now-wife Megan Mullally.   It also offers hard-bitten battle strategies in the arenas of manliness, love, style, religion, woodworking, and outdoor recreation, among many other savory entrees.

A mix of amusing anecdotes, opinionated lessons and rants, sprinkled with offbeat gaiety, Paddle Your Own Canoe will not only tickle readers pink but may also rouse them to put down their smart phones, study a few sycamore leaves, and maybe even hand craft (and paddle) their own canoes.

GOODREADS.COM

I absolutely must start this thing with an obviously needed disclaimer:

This is a book by actor Nick Offerman who portrays Ron Swanson on NBC’s Parks and Recreation.  This is NOT  a book written by the fictional character Ron Swanson who is portrayed by actor Nick Offerman on NBC’s Parks and Recreations.  Although the two characters are very similar in nature, it is Nick Offerman who has put a bit of his real self into the character that is Ron Swanson.  Both are absolutely wonderful people.  The only difference being that one is completely made up, and the other is one of the finest character actors and all around men to have ever graced this unworthy earth.  So there you have it.

With all that being said, I must also disclaim that I absolutely recommend choosing the option of the audiobook version of this brilliant memoir over a physical copy.  I rarely recommend this, but I can already say pretty surely that you are all going to be trying to hear Offerman’s rustic and manly voice in your head anyway, and you are probably going to screw it up.  Also, the audiobook also includes additions that you will not find in the physical copy of the book.  Go ahead and read both.  That’s what I did, and I enjoyed them both so god damned much.  Alright, enough with the disclaimers, let’s dig in to this thing.

Nick OffermanThis book.  This intriguing bit of guidance/memoir/humorist wit/so many different things…..was downright fucking brilliant.  Seriously.  I can’t remember the last time I felt so much inspiration, education, and down right bemusement since I learned about how lady parts worked in the 7th grade. It was incredible to listen to this amazing man’s man discuss everything from the joys of woodworking, the struggles of being a theatre kid in the 90’s in the Windy City, or just how wonderful a little thing like marijuana can actually turn out to be.  I, like the rest of you will or do, was consistently thinking about Ron Swanson the entire time I was reading this book.  Hell, we are only human, this is bound to happen.  But, to my utter delight, there were an equal amount of things that were rightfully unique and different front he Swanson persona that Offerman has created, as well as so many great things that were similar.  Which only even further highlights the genius of this man who has created a messiah of manliness on television who actually does mirror a bit of the manliness that he portrays in his everyday living.  A beautiful fucking combination if you ask this humble reader.

There is a shit ton of sage like advice to be found in this book, and almost all of it should not be taken lightly.  Offerman pulls no punches when he tells us his most sincere thoughts on anything from being an atheist to following our dreams whilst having something else to fall back on, and never taking yourself so damn serious that you forget that life is a short hot mess that we are forced to endure and make the best of no matter how many times we get kicked in the ass and knocked to the proverbial or physical ground.  This god damned man’s words are some of the most inspiring collection of vowels and consonants I have heard in such a long time.  Even when he is simply telling you a story, he is giving you some amazing advice on how to achieve the ultimate goal of having an absolutely “delicious life”.  He also managed to transfix me into the Chicago theatre world, which I had never really known or cared about, made me long for a time and place that I never knew about, but wanted to know just so damn bad!  And, oh by the way, the man was a break dancer?  I know this was outed on late night TV a while ago, but I didn’t see this unit after reading about it.  Sorry for spoiling such a surprise, but you should definitely YouTube that shit ASAP.  He still has it!

megan-mullally-and-nick-offerman-the-2011_3648831What is definitely most intriguing about this book are the thousands of words dedicated to Offerman’s love for his wife Megan Mullally.  I will admit that felt sort of silly for the fact that I had no idea that he was married to the chick from Will & Grace.  Of course, I am not as in touch with the YouTube and the P&R fan base as I should be, so I just took it as a nice surprise from a gentle giant.  I didn’t care, and still don’t, that his wife was sort of a big deal in the 90’s and when he first met her.  In fact, I loved hearing him talk about how much he loved the woman who was is soul mate in the chapters prior to his all out love bathing with words he did.  I now presume that most readers were already supposed to know who she was whilst listening to Nick speak so highly of this wonderful woman.  I am actually sort of glad I didn’t, because I still only really know anything about her based on how he describes her.  And he does this in such a wonderful way.  I can only wish that I could ponder up about 15 percent of the praise in writing for my own wife that he does in this book.  He is a lucky man, and she is a lucky gal.  And yes, I feel the same way about my own relationship.  I would have never known until reading this book, but there could be a case that Offerman’s career only exists because of his marriage to the Emmy Award nominated actress.  But this is such a horse shit idea that Offerman doesn’t even try to debate out, yet clearly shows how this is definitely said horse shit.  I guess the fact that I knew Nick Offerman by name and not is lovely wife at first reading is a good indication of how wrong this idealism would be.  So, I am happy that it isn’t a big deal.  I am just happy that these two wonderful people have found each other and continue to spread their joy to us all.

Overall, I’m not sure I will be able to find a better book that this one in the coming year, or the other years to follow.  This was about as perfect of  a book as we will ever know.  It is filled with wonderful stories with an incredible range of topics.  There is advice that definitely should be taken (although I am not sure I have the patience for woodwork) and so many different trends of life to take heed of.  Basically, if you love Ron Swanson, you are absolutely going to adore Nick Offerman.

 

Note: 2014 is the first year for book reviews at Trainwreck’d Society.  We will be making a valiant effort to read and review at least 100 books.  This is review #9.  Be sure to stay in touch and be on the lookout for further reviews throughout 2014.  Be sure to let us know if we are falling behind.  For a complete list of book reviews, click HERE.  Enjoy!

The Evangenitals: Moby Dick (or, The Album) [Album]

Evangenitals-MobyDick_HRcover-e1389978920635I was instantly drawn to The Evangenitals for the obvious reason that they have the coolest band name I have seen.  And then I heard them, and I found even greater reason to love them.  The band refers to their style of music as Avant-Appalachian Pirate-jazz, which I guess works.  I find that when it is too hard to categorize a band, there is probably a damn good reason for it.  And this is a band the blends just the perfect amount of weird and talent.  Their sound is unique, without being too disturbing.

On the band’s first release from Fluff and Gravy records,  Moby Dick (or, The Album), we get a fine taste of the perfectly peculiar styling that makes The Evangenitals a real gift to the indie music world.  To say the very least about this wonderful album would be to say that it is the strangest interpretation of Melville you will ever hear.  To say the very most, it is a real delight.  The surreal and fascinating tone of a song like “Shipwreck Blues” is just one example of why The Evangenitals may be one of the finest Americana-ish groups out there today, and why should all be paying attention to songwriter Juli Crockett and her beautiful band of merry men/women.

The Evangenitals’s debut album Moby Dick (or, The Album) will be released on March 18th 2014 on Portland, OR based Fluff and Gravy Records.

Tool & Yob. Live @ The Moda Center in Portland, Oregon [03.06.14]

Tool:Yob 4I don’t think I’ve met a Tool fan that doesn’t hold them in the highest of regards. Virtually every enthusiast of this band that I have met does this, except it sometimes comes off as masturbatory praise.

“They are the best live band I’ve ever seen. The audience joins together as one…. almost as if they are part of a tribe or village. This won’t just be a live show, It’ll be art. So many people don’t get it.  I’ve seen them more than any other band; Maynard James Keenan is a genius. Did you know they wrote a song based on the Fibonacci sequence?”

– Every fan of Tool I know

 

Ugh.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the social impact that Tool has had on the musical landscape. Especially in the metal community. I can appreciate it. I actually really enjoy their body of studio work. I feel like Ænema is a nearly flawless album, and is one of the most important metal albums of the ’90s, if not all time. That being said, their live performance was…..different. It was unlike any other I’ve seen.

Eugene, OR doom metal Trio Yob took the stage early. Ten minutes before scheduled curtain. They were a bit hard to read at first. They opened with the drudging “Quantum Mystic” from their 2005 album The Unreal Never Lived. At first I felt they were lacking enthusiasm. As the crowd began to fill out a bit more, Mike Scheidt(vocals/guitar) altered his vocals from a surprisingly raspy black metal-esque shriek, into his deep signature roar. Yob has gotten the opportunity to open for Tool before Although the crowd wasn’t participating, they seemed to be having a decent time bringing their doom to the masses. I’ve seen them before and in my opinion, while they could fill nearly any size venue with their massive sound, they are a band to observe in a more intimate setting.

Tool:Yob 3After a brief sound check, it was time for Tool. They took the stage and opened with “Third Eye”, the closer from their seminal album, Ænima. Immediately, a great deal of things stand out to me. There is no microphone in at the front of the stage. Maynard James Keenan has positioned himself parallel with Danny Carey‘s drum set atop the riser towards the back. He is dressed in head to toe in solid black, with sunglasses and his hair is brightly colored and spiked upward. He essentially looked like a henchman from a cyberpunk gang. It’s an interesting juxtaposition from the other members. Guitarist Adam Jones is also dressed monochromatically, but in a lighter white/tan. Bassist Justin Chancellor dressed very….normal. And drummer Danny Carey was perched behind his kit in a Portland Blazer’s jersey. A strange mishmash for a band that I had always heard was so heavily reliant on visuals.

As they were rounding out the opener, I was very surprised by Adam Jones. All of the players clearly know their part in this band. The rhythm section is unbelievably tight, yet I couldn’t help but get the sensation that they weren’t playing together. It felt like each member of the band was performing separately. When it came time for Jones to spotlight his solo, he played it surprisingly sloppy, and abused his wah pedal more than a drunk Kirk Hammett. A rare low point from a technical performance side. The band then launched into “Vicarious” from their previous studio album, 10,000 Days. It was at this point that I was able to settle in and really absorb the visuals along with the performance.

Tool:Yob 1Behind the band there were three large screens that played clips from their music videos to accompany the tracks they were performing (which in my opinion is sort of lame). The tracks missing music video accompaniment didn’t have a shortage of visuals, however. Guitarist Adam Jones doubles as the band’s visual art director. But as far as I could tell, the visuals were stripped from one of those mid ’90s computer animation odysseys. In my opinion the graphics came off as cheesy. But I don’t discount them. In fact, the nostalgic side of me was thrilled by them. I was definitely watching a band that achieved their peak of relevancy in the ’90s, and I loved that I could see that. To me the visuals harkened back to a time when Marilyn Manson still put on a decent show. Or a time when The Butthole Surfers or White Zombie were still shocking crowds with surgery footage or horror movie clips. The laser lights, the screens filled with bad CGI…. all of it was fun to watch. But it felt absolutely contrary to the band’s live performance, or the overall atmosphere of their music.

Say what you will about the band’s uncompromising practices. It clearly works for them, but it feels cold. It feels pretentious. I understand that is part of how they want to appear, and for a band like Tool, it will  stay that way. It’s worked completely. Maynard James Keenan is a terrific singer and a fantastic lyricist. But he is NOT a frontman. He sticks to the shadows, belting out his vocals in the dark, barely acknowledging the crowd. I wouldn’t change that at all. For such an apocalyptic post metal music project, the idea of a front man would take away from the aesthetic.

Tool:Yob 2I was very surprised at the disconnect there appeared to be between each band member. They were all off on their own section of the stage, not acknowledging each other. Each one playing their part perfectly, but separately. They sounded and looked like a well oiled machine. It was great to see the rhythm section (Chancellor and Carey) show their chops as the virtuosos that they are. However, they definitely seem like the kind of band that emails each other the set list for the upcoming tour and practices at home along with their own records before the tour starts. I have a distinct feeling that the only times these guys play together is when performing live or writing in the studio.

A little over halfway through the set they had a brief intermission, and returned 12 minutes later, clearly going for broke. They upped the visuals by turning on the lasers, and dropping down a screen in front of the stage to display more visuals. They returned with a very impressive drum solo from Carey, and then got down to business. They finished with three crowd favorites: “Forty Six & 2”, “Ænema”, and “Stinkfist”. I was a little disappointed at the crowd, even at this point in the night. Everyone had hyped up to me how the crowd was going to act. How crazy it would be. The crowd seemed fairly tame to be honest. I know I shouldn’t expect it to be like a Slayer show, where everyone goes nuts, but that’s how it was explained to me. Everyone told me how awesome it was gonna be, and it was very “meh”. It felt like I was watching Donnie Darko all over again, and now I get to go tell all my friends that adore it how mediocre it was.

All in all it was a fun night, Tool were very technically proficient, but had no stage presence, and the visuals, while nostalgically pleasing come off a cheesy and forced.

Charlie and the Foxtrots [Band]

Charlie and the FoxtrotsOh sweet delicious hipster folk!  I seriously can not get enough of it.  The reinvention of a classic country sound is something I am sure I will always thoroughly enjoy.  Beautifully written songs with a delightful, even if it is mildly depressing, story to tell is something that can never be wrong.  And that is exactly what you will hear form a band like Charlie and the Foxtrots.  It could be very easy for me to pigeon hold these cats by comparing them to so many other acts out there, but honestly, that wouldn’t be right.  Certainly the band’s banjo riddled new age folk songs may sound familiar, but there is something obviously different here.  All the classic elements are there, but the personalized brand of folk that Chaz Wilson and company are bringing is rightfully respectable on its own merit.

Charlie and the Foxtrots recently debuted their new single “The Man I Am” over at AmericanSongwriter.com, and are on the cusp of releasing a new E.P., which if it is half as delightful as their 2013 release The Evergreen, we are in for a real treat.  And if their new single is any indication of what we will hear in the future, it would be a safe bet to say that it this shit is going to rock our worlds.  Forget about all the “RIYL” crap that tries to make you think you are listening to a Lumineers rip off, this is the real gold.  It is fun, high-spirited, and did I mention fun?  Seriously folks, if you were to only accept one new band to listen to this year, please do yourself a favor and make it Charlie and the Foxtrots.  You will not be disappointed.

Charlie and the Foxtrots are currently on tour, catch them in a city near you.  Visit their website for details.

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger [Book]

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger

Franny and Zooey is composed of two sections, which were originally published in the New Yorker magazine as two separate short stories. The first story or section, “Franny,” was published in the New Yorker in January 1955. In “Franny,” Franny Glass meets her boyfriend Lane Coutell for a football weekend at his college. They do not get to join many of the festivities, though, because during their first lunch together, Franny begins to have a breakdown. She tells Lane that she is sick of the phoniness at school and of the egotism of the faculty. She has quit the play she was in because she is embarrassed about what she feels to be acting fake. As she gets worked up, she reveals that she has become interested in the “Jesus prayer,” a continuous prayer meant to cleanse one’s spirit. Lane mostly brushes off Franny’s concerns until she faints on the way to the bathroom. As he is helping to revive her, she begins to speak the prayer.

“Zooey” basically picks up where “Franny” left off. First, though, the narrator names himself. The man claiming to be the author of the story is Buddy Glass, one of Franny and Zooey’s older brothers. The story resumes. It is the Monday after the weekend Franny’s breakdown started, and Zooey is at home in New York City. In his conversation with his mother, Bessie Glass, it is revealed that Franny is now at home, sleeping and crying on the living room sofa. Bessie wants Zooey to talk to Franny, which he eventually does. The two of them have a long theological and personal discussion. We learn that the two of them have basically been raised on a blend of different religions, taught to them by their older brothers Buddy and Seymour. Over the course of this long discussion, Zooey helps Franny sort out her spiritual and personal beliefs, allowing her, by the end, to find peace.

 

***

First off, I have to say…I did it!  I finally read this classic piece of literature from Salinger.  This book has been on my reading list for a couple of decades.  Like most of us out there, I read Catcher in the Rye in middle school.  It wasn’t required reading in my school, but it was just something that I was drawn to as I know it it had a strong message about teenage angst and the pressures of growing up.  Well, growing up rich and insecure that I guess.  Plus it was featured heavily in a Mel Gibson movie I really loved way back then when Mel Gibson didn’t suck.  No matter, I had been meaning to read Franny and Zooey for a very long time, and I have to say that I was not upset.  It is rare for me to think that a book was ever “just long enough”, but in the case of this wonderful little book, I still came away from it wishing it was just a bit longer.

I have never really been fascinated with the idealisms of Zen Buddhism and the likes.  More so I have been fascinated with other people’s fascination with eastern religions.  Therefore it is was an absolute delight to get to find out Salinger’s interpretation of the whole damn thing.  Though not an entirely prevalent theme of the book, it was always there.  Buddhism mixed with a bit of self-realization and social narcissism.  Although Salinger published so little works, it is widely known that he wrote in a very metaphorical sense, and Franny and Zooey is definitely not a book that strays from these ways of being.  Salinger wasn’t a great writer in a lyrical sense, like Flaubert who has a “cameo” in this book, but more of a technical writer who had something daring to say, and managed to say it in a sort of secret code.  And this is exactly how the Buddha man made his way into this text.  The entire Glass family seems to be the sort of group of folks who, even when terrible things happen to them, seem to have it all together, but are all dead inside.  And only when a character like Franny starts to realize this notion does the world around her, as grey as it seems, starts to find her ridiculous and incorrigible, because deep inside they know she is ride.  And to that I say, Namaste motherfuckers.

The character of Zooey is easily the most fascinating creature among these pages (Note:  I actually read a physical copy of this!  Not an audiobook, though I still whole-heartedly defend the magic of audiobooks).  Never seeming to truly get over the death of his brother, Zooey’s evident despair acts as a major theme of the book, or at least a very important character trait in the young man.  I do know that there is probably very little to “give away” about this story, as a classic piece of literature like this has had spoilers from millions of different angles for the last 60 years, but I dare tell you fine readers that Salinger said everything we need to know about the declination of society when he wrote the character of Zooey.

As this is a classic story, and all that is to be said about Salinger and this novel has already been said, I want to take this soap box and stand in a different direction.  For anybody who has read Salinger’s work in the last few years….do you think of Wes Anderson?  Salinger’s influence on a film like The Royal Tenenbaums seems bloody obvious to me now.  This is not to say that Anderson isn’t a truly amazing and original artist himself, as he is obviously one of the most intriguing writers and filmmakers of this day and age.  I would dare say that he is the Felini of the now with is quirky and weird depictions of modern society.  But, in reading this book, and looking back on Catcher in the Rye, it seems as though the two have the same story to tell.  That society as a whole is desperately sinking in to a hole of despair and unintelligable declination.  And boy what a bit of fun it can all be!  While Anderson resorts to comedy as a way of depicting tragedy, Salinger simply kept it simple, and stuff with being one tragic and desolate motherfucker.  And hot damn both of these men are brilliant in their own rights.

It may be the whole “rich people have problems too” sort of mindset that they both work with that makes their work so interesting.  While stories of the poor are interesting in their own right, at times in literature, when you strip a character of all monetary concerns, you can truly get to know the inner nature of a person.  This is obviously the case when it comes to this amazing little piece of literature.  There is no doubt that people will be reading Salinger for years to come, he’s just that damn important.  And I dare say that Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey should be required reading for everyone to learn from before the reach the age of 22.  How do we go about making this a law?  Let’s do that.

 

Note: 2014 is the first year for book reviews at Trainwreck’d Society.  We will be making a valiant effort to read and review at least 100 books.  This is review #8.  Be sure to stay in touch and be on the lookout for further reviews throughout 2014.  Be sure to let us know if we are falling behind.  For a complete list of book reviews, click HERE.  Enjoy!