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Raise High the Roof beam, Carpenters And Seymour: An Introduction Turtleback – Aug 2003

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Turtleback, Aug 2003
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Turtleback: 213 pages
  • Publisher: Demco Media (August 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0606288384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0606288385
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 11.4 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 26 2011
Format: Hardcover
"The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass." -- Revelation 21:18-21 (NKJV)

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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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. His nine stories are much better, especially when compared to this. Compared to this, a kick in the crotch seems nice.
Like Franny and Zooey, these two stories are about the Glass Family, which is made up of very intelligent siblings that used to be on a radio quiz show. Salinger's style here is not simplistic and lucid like in Catcher in the Rye, but instead is pretentious and convoluted. It's as though he took everything about Catcher in the Rye that was good and did the opposite. The narrative is extreme stream of conscious, almost at the level of Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury.
I don't remember what the premise of the story is because it was barely there. I know it has something to do with Seymour's marriage, but the stories are more about the characters than their setting. However, since the writing is so unpleasant this makes it very difficult to read. I don't recommend this book to anyone and thinking about it makes me feel bad inside in a way I imagine one would feel after doing something terrible, like killing a man or breaking a prized possession. The reason for the latter maybe because the time spent reading this book was wasted. I gained nothing from the experience except a hatred for these characters who, if they ever make the mistake of physically manifesting themselves in my presence, I will beat with such fervency that they will be sent into a coma from which they will never recover.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is actually a melding of two stories which delve deeper into the history of the Glass family, who was introduced earlier in Salinger's works.
"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.
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