Friday, January 29, 2010

Goodbye, Holden Caulfield

Coincidentally, the news of J.D Salinger's death came just a few days after I started reading his short story collection, "Nine Stories" (a.k.a. "For Esme with Love and Squalor"). At the end of every single story I just said "wow". His writing skills were amazing, and I believe he was the best author I have ever read.

I read "The Catcher in the Rye" when I was in high-school and absolutely loved it. Even though I wasn't much of a rebel and didn't particularly think of adults as phony, I completely identified with Holden Caulfield. Every time I heard a reference to the book as the crazy assassin's bible, I was pissed as hell. There was nothing in the novel that promoted murder. So what if Mark David Chapman, John Lennon's killer, and John Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, were fans of the book? So was Reagan's VP, former President George H. W. Bush!

I'm thinking of re-reading "Catcher". I'm sure it would be a totally different experience from the original reading, not just because it would be the second time around, but mostly because I'm in a different place in my life now. A teenager reading about a teenager is not the same as someone in his late twenties reading about a character who is a decade younger than him. I have no doubt I'll still love the book, and I'll discover new things I didn't notice in high-school.

I'll also probably get around to reading Salinger's other works sometime.

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