J.D. Salinger RIP

I first picked up an orange copy of “Catcher In The Rye” back in high school. Well, found it in a desk actually and took it home. I’d barely heard of it or its author, but within the first paragraph I was hooked, as were most readers in 1951 and to this very day. Despite J.D. Salinger’s prep school millieu — or maybe because of it — Holden Caufield became the most famous adolescent in 20th century American literature. His abhorrence at the “phonies” around him solidified the first post-modern generational angst and would lead to the flowering of the Beats. I devoured all of Salinger’s thin output, amazed that a writer could so easily remove himself from the public eye after such a brief, successful run. Maybe he said everything he wanted; maybe he thought he couldn’t top “Catcher In The Rye.” I’m hoping we’ll get a clue as to what he’s been writing over the past four decades. But it’s certain that no matter what the era, Holden Caufield abides.

“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior.  You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know.  Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now.  Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles.  You’ll learn from them – if you want to.  Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you.  It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement.  And it isn’t education.  It’s history.  It’s poetry.”

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8 Responses to “J.D. Salinger RIP”

  1. i also have that orange copy from high school, required reading in the english lit curriculum (at least then, not sure about now)

    peace be the journey, JD, and thank you for making us feel like we were not alone in our loneliness

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  3. Wonderful post and tribute, Christian. Thanks for this.

  4. Yes, nice tribute! I think it’s safe to say that most of us were profoundly effected by Salinger’s work, CATCHER, in particular, at an early impressionable age. I remember burning through the book in a day. I just couldn’t put it down as it really spoke to me and I think that is its power – it is able to speak to so many people on such a personal level.

    After that, I quickly devoured all of his other writings and that led to me discovering Beat writers like Kerouac, etc.

    One can hope that with his passing, some of his unpublished work will finally see the light of day.

    • christian Says:

      Thank you!

      It has to hit you at the exact right age. I was 14 and I couldn’t put it down either. Plus its claim to controversy at the time was the bad words…

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