Raise High the Roof beam, Carpenters And Seymour: An Introduction Turtleback – Aug 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction certainly do remind me of the Revelation description of the New Jerusalem. It's like nothing you've ever seen before and will leave you with a sense of astonishment.
When thinking about how to develop a character, most authors rely on what the character does and says (as J.D. Salinger did in his first famous story about Seymour Glass, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish"). More sophisticated authors learn to include internal dialogue to expand the reader's view, as James Joyce did so well in Ulysses.
But a real person exists also through the perceptions of those whose lives are influenced by the person's existence. J.D. Salinger employs two extreme versions of such perspectives in these two longer stories that were first published in The New Yorker.
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters brings Buddy Glass (Seymour's slightly younger brother) to New York for Seymour's wedding day. Right away, there's a problem: Seymour isn't in sight. Buddy finds himself attached to a part of the wedding party that doesn't realize he's the missing groom's brother.Read more ›
"Raise High" followed the adventures of Buddy as he prepared to attend the wedding of his brother, Seymour. However, Seymour fails to show up at the wedding, and the rest of the story continues as Buddy converses and invites the family and friends of the bride over to his house to escape from the hot day. Although this was a good story that brought other things to light about the Glass family, it was no way comparable to "Franny and Zooey" or the short story that first introduced us to Seymour, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish".
"Seymour: An Introduction" is a paradoxical title for the next story, because as mentioned in the previous paragraph, the reader has already become fairly familiar with the character of Seymour. The reader follows Buddy's mind as he describes his elder brother whom he deeply admires, but it almost feels like you're stuck in the mind of an ADHD. He jumps from topic to topic and the transitions are almost impossible to follow - I found my mind wandering quite a bit with this one. If I hadn't already had an interest in the Glass family, I probably would not have finished this story. It was long-winded and not very thematic. It does, however, bring the reader closer to the Glass family and give insight into the background of the different characters presented.
It is also worthwhile to mention that one should definitely read Salinger's first two stories regarding the Glass family, "A Perfect Day For Bananafish" and "Franny and Zooey" in order to gain an interest in the family before embarking on "Raise High" and "Seymour". Without having gained a love for the characters first, it will be difficult to enjoy and understand these stories at all.
While both are told via Buddy's first person narrator perspective, Raise High the Roof Beam is a far superior effort, although I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed Seymour: An Introduction as well -- just not as immensely as its predecessor. After reading both, one seems to learn a great deal more about Buddy, Boo Boo, Les and Bessie, Walt, and Franny & Zooey than Seymour himself. Buddy admittedly refuses to delve into the years immediately prior to Seymour's suicide(deftly written in A Perfect Day for Bananafish), but rather touches solely on his youthful years while starring on "It's A Wise Child." This book is worth the price alone due to the profound Taoist tale Seymour told Franny when she was a baby -- as well as Buddy's hilarious blowup at the insufferably annoying Matron of Honor.
"My atoms, moreover, are arranged to make me constitutionally inclined to believe that where there's smoke there's usually strawberry Jello, seldom fire." - Buddy
Any shortcomings the book has rests with the "Seymour: An Introduction" half. This chapter takes forever to start, thanks to Buddy Glass' metafictional ponderings. These are somewhat interesting, but ultimately only weigh down what is already a story that's all characterization with no action.
Don't get me wrong: I like "Seymour," particularly once the narrator moves past his delight with his own intelligence. There just seems to be an awful lot of wasted words in that section.
"Raise High the Roof-Beam, Carpenters" is a much more straightforward story, instantly enjoyable and along the lines of "Franny."
Both stories contribute to the reader's understanding of the magnificent Glass family, and, in particular, the life and eventual death of Seymour. I still don't fully understand why he did what he did, though. That may be my problem, not Salinger's.
Most recent customer reviews
In comparison to Salinger's other work, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction slightly disappoints with its lackluster plot and overwrought... Read morePublished on Sept. 12 2009 by Saro
For some reason, probably because I'm an idiot, I read this after reading Franny and Zooey. I had already read everyone else Salinger wrote and decided to finish off his career. Read morePublished on July 14 2004 by Keith Whitener
I think this is the first book Salinger wrote about the Glass Family. Seymour is the eldest and wisest member and he is like the most perfect older brother anyone could have. Read morePublished on July 10 2004 by Mr Stuart A Woolgar
Would someone please help me out in understanding something? Why, exactly did Seymour throw the rock at Charlotte because she "looked so beautiful"? Read morePublished on July 9 2004
Truly, what a wonderful final publication for Salinger. While many might argue the point of Salinger's work being over-hyped, it is just that which makes ALL of Salinger's work... Read morePublished on Aug. 23 2003 by Helter Peal
This was my first exposure to Salinger, and I was suitably impressed.
"Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" is a charming and sometimes poignant little anecdote... Read more
No one that I've recommended Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters to has been disappointed. Really funny, interesting, and sad all at the same time. If you like J.D. Read morePublished on Nov. 3 2002
I have reviewed Seymour: An Introduction previously. This review is to celebrate the story Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters. This story was published in 1955 in the New Yorker. Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2002 by Paul Miller