This book is a collection of short stories by author J.D. Salinger, famous for his work, The Catcher in the Rye. Because the stories are not connected to each other, I decided I’d write a short blurb about each of them.
- A Perfect Day for Bananafish: This story follows an ex-soldier and his wife on vacation. We learn through a phone call between the wife and her mother that the solider has not been quite right since he returned from the war. I liked this story a lot because of the way Salinger told the story. He offered tiny details, never calling attention to them. And they all came together in the end.
- Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut: This story follows two college roommates as they visit and catch up. Through their conversations, we find that one has become a career woman, while the other is unhappily married with a rather odd child. I like this story a lot, also because of how Salinger peppered in little details.
- Just Before the War with the Eskimos: This story follows two young tennis players who always share a cab home. However, one of the girls always gets stuck with the whole fare, and finally, she has enough. While she’s waiting to get the money owed her, she meets her friend’s brother and then his friend. I didn’t like this story as much. It was interesting, but a little weird.
- The Laughing Man: This story was a little different because it was written in the first person. It follows a young boy who is part of an all-boys group called the Comanche Club. They would all get together and play sports and listen to their leader, the Chief, tell stories about the adventures of a mysterious figure called the Laughing Man. However, the dynamics all start to change when the Chief starts bringing his girlfriend along. I liked this story because it was different and offered a unique perspective compared to the other stories.
- Down at the Dinghy: This story follows a young mother as she seeks to understand why her son keeps running away, while her maids fear that she will discover they’ve been slandering her husband in front of her son. I liked this story because it’s a lot sweeter and more real than the other stories.
- For Esme–With Love and Squalor: This story follows a young American soldier stationed in England before D-Day. He meets a young girl named Esme after watching her in a choir practice, and makes acquaintance with her and her younger brother. They part, promising to keep correspondence. I liked this story a lot, particularly because of the interesting dynamic between the solider and Esme. I’m also wondering if author Lemony Snicket was inspired to name his character Esme Squalor after this story.
- Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes: This story follows a man who receives a phone call in the middle of the night from his friend, who is wondering about his wife’s whereabouts. He hates his wife and is worried that she is sleeping around. The man, meanwhile, does not inform his friend that he knows exactly where his wife is. This story was pretty good. I was a little confused at first, but after reading over it again, it made more sense.
- De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period: This story follows a young man who recently moved from Paris to New York with his stepfather after his mother died. He hates New York, and ends up applying for a position at a French and English correspondence art school run by a Japanese couple, even though he has no official teaching experience or licensing. He gets the job, though he hates all of his students, except for one. He tries in vain to get in contact with this student, because he believes she has a great deal of talent. I liked this story a lot. It was probably my favorite. It was really funny, and quite interesting.
- Teddy: This story follows a child prodigy traveling with family on a ship. The story centers on Teddy’s religious and philosophic conversations with an older student. I liked this story, because I find religion and philosophy to be quite fascinating, but the ending was sad and kind of surprising.
So those are the stories! Do you agree with my assessments? Disagree? Tell me in the comments!