Words cannot do justice to how deeply saddened I am by the loss of J.D. Salinger. No other American writer has been with me and had such an effect on me for so many years.
It all started in high school, as it usually does, with The Catcher in the Rye. It was our assigned reading in tenth grade and I poured through the pages. I found I liked everything about the book. It’s story, vocabulary and an undeniable ability to capture the angst of youth.
Later in college, my mother and I would bicker about who was a greater American writer. She always declared, without question, that it was Hemmingway. However, I have never been a fan of Hemmingway. He’s a arrogant misogynist and I found it difficult to get past his stereotypical female protagonists.
Mr. Salinger spoke to me again when I discovered Franny & Zooey. Honestly, I have never gotten all the way through the book. You know why? It’s too fucking realistic. The story is about a brother and sister struggling to find themselves in a superficial world, and their mentally ill mother who has no understanding of spirituality – let alone her children. On many levels, the scenes between Zooey (the brother) and his mom were so frighteningly realistic that I put the book down. Sadly, I have yet to pick it up again.
Recently, a Russian native friend of mine received her U.S. citizenship. I wanted to give her something truly American to honor the day. I handed her a new copy Mr. Salinger’s collection of Nine Stories. I told her that now as an American, she must read the greatest American author! LOL I don’t think she has read any of the short stories, but it’s the thought that counts. However, YOU SHOULD read them! I particularly enjoyed Teddy, For Esme – With Love and Squalor, and A Perfect Day for a Bannafish.
Okay. Gone on far too long with this post… thanks for reading. I hope I have convinced you to pick up a copy of Mr. Salinger’s work on your way home today.
With Love and Squalor,