I just read J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey, and in discussing it, I got to wondering about the pronunciation of Zooey. I couldn’t find any record of Salinger discussing the pronunciation, so no one really knows how it’s supposed to sound. This Live Journal post has a few comments from people certain it rhymes with showy. It also has a few comments from people certain it rhymes with dewy. MetaFilter was also non-conclusive. Is it possible the internet doesn’t know?
Actress Zooey Deschanel is named after the book title, but pronounces her name Zoe. However, when asked about Salinger’s pronunciation, Deschanel said “I don’t really care what Salinger says about my name. It’s my name.” So let’s take her with a grain of salt.
For my money, I’m going with Zooey as in Zoo-y. If you want an analytical reason why, I’ll go with doubting the meticulous Salinger would have used the word “Phooey” in the book if the pronunciation was Zoe. If you find certain evidence otherwise, let me know.
Comments for this thread are open for a bit. I swear you guys, I’m going to be moderating, and if there’s any trouble, I’ll turn this comment section right around.
Via Jeremy Stahl in the comments, a disappointing end to the argument.
This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.