weekenders | Salinger

Once on a car trip, an ex-boyfriend and I got in a heated argument over my deep dislike of Holden Caulfield. I realize I'm part of a small minority of people who don't (...or didn't) love Catcher in the Rye. But, with all my twenty-year old conviction I started shouting about trust and vulnerability, and a certain kind of privilege that lets a person - or in this case a character - judge and harden to the world. We ended up pulling over somewhere on PCH, and getting out of the car to cool-out.  

A few years (and one boyfriend) later, I decided to give ole J.D. another try with Franny and Zooey. And, I've rarely felt more understood by a book. Franny is my Holden - and she made me a Salinger fan. So, I worked my way through everything else I could find. Rumor has it that a posthumous series of Glass family stories will be published in the next few years. I, for one, could not be more excited. Until then...

weekenders | on author J.D Salinger
  • watch: Salinger, the new documentary {which is currently instant-streaming on Netflix!}
  • read: The Man in the Glass Housea 1997 article in Esquire Magazine. The best thing that came out of the documentary was that it piqued my curiosity enough to seek out out a second opinion. This article is a long read, but more thoughtful and tender than the documentary. so worth the scrolling!!
  • think: J.D Salinger is, of course, famously reclusive and it's a big focus of both the doc and the article. Rosenbaum writes
"S.'s silent presence is like an unvoiced koan, a trick question that forces one to question oneself. I meditate upon S.'s silence, upon the absence of it in my life, upon all the other absences in my life. I began to feel very sad; I began to feel S.'s sadness, his sorrow and pity for a world filled with unenlightened souls like mine."

He's referring to the famous and enigmatic epigraph that J.D added to the reprint of Nine Stories about "the sound of one hand clapping." (There's a great reflection on it in Rosebaum's article ... and it ties up to my second favorite Salinger story A Lovely Day for a Banana Fish) It made me think a lot about celebrity and what it means to leave the spotlight in a time when we are obsessed with personal aspects of creative professionals.

Are you a Salinger fan? everyone's read Catcher in the Rye - did you relate to Holden or did you hate him?

10 comments:

  1. I didn't like Holden Caulfield either - maybe I should read another Salinger too! =)

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  2. Did you ever read Russell Banks' "Rule of the Bone?" It's been called, by some, a modern take on "Catcher in the Rye." Which is interesting to me because I think they are such different stories - the main character in Banks' novel has zero entitlement and a unique perspective on the way to "make it" in the world. The adventure is emotional and poignant (which is perhaps what Caufield lovers found in "Rye." Worth a read!

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    1. Layla, thanks so much for the book recommendation! I hadn't heard of it, but I will definitely check it out - I tend to like anything described as emotional/poignant. I've heard "Perks of Being a Wallflower" also called a modern take on Catcher, and I loved that one.

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  3. well, i've never read any J.D's books, so...
    maybe i should start read one

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  4. lol never do I think I have gotten in such a heated argument over a fictional character that we had to pull over the car.
    never read the book though I do want to one day.. see what all the hype is about.
    Sometimes every book has an age.. I felt the same when I read the Alchemist.. i think i was too old for the book and it seemed annoying and overrated to me.. though i may have felt differently if i had read it at a younger age.

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    1. Hena, I really loved the Alchemist, but I read it when I was about 20 and just trying to figure out what my path in life. It was the right book at the right time. I think you're so right about - every book has an age!

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  5. i remember loving it but haven't picked it up since tenth grade - i'd love to revisit it, though! funnily enough, i really hated franny & zooey - but maybe i need to reread that again, too!

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  6. I couldn't stand the book - it took me three goes to even get through it and even then it felt like it was nothing. I couldn't stand Holden, the story, none of it. HOWEVER, I have wanted to read Franny and Zooey for quite some time, and I think you may have just persuaded me to do just that ;)

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    1. Tori, glad I'm not the only one who wasn't team-Holden! I'm looking forward to hearing if Franny makes a Salinger lover out of you too.

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Thank you so much for commenting, Darling Reader! I read + love each and every one of them. (Anonymous commenting has been turned off due to robots)

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