Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger

by Camille Tulloss

I very much enjoyed reading Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. It covers a broad range of topics and incorporates ideas from interesting and important themes. While many of the stories explore darker subject matter, elements of humor keep the book enjoyable overall. 

Salinger has an extremely specific writing style, incorporating many sensory details and lots of dialogue. These two elements make his works intriguing and captivating. Although Salinger’s style can sometimes end up feeling somewhat forced, I felt that the short story medium lent itself to his style very well. However, if you didn’t enjoy Catcher in the Rye, this might not be the book for you, as it has a similar feel. 

I generally enjoy short stories, finding them to be entertaining, while also often connecting to important and relatable themes. After reading and enjoying The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie, I noticed some similar themes and stylistic elements. However, Salinger’s writing is less literal, and requires a closer look into the imagery and symbolism in order to uncover meaning. 

Many of the short stories in the collection explore interesting relationships between characters. I found these relationships, and the various power struggles that went along with them, to be the most interesting. My favorite story was the first one, A Perfect Day for Bananafish. This story was a perfect introduction to Salinger’s style for newer readers, and was highly effective in hooking me into the book with the hope of reading similarly enthralling material. My least favorite story was one of the last: De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period. I disliked it partially because Salinger’s style was getting old by the end, but also because I felt that it dragged on for too long. In addition, it included multiple letters, which were somewhat boring, and seemed to simply fill the space. 

I would recommend this book to almost anyone I know, because it is interesting, accessible and relatable to many. In particular, it I would recommend it to my peers, as it was very refreshing after reading many romantic and older texts in school.

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