Saturday, January 30, 2010
J.D Salinger 1909-2010
J. D. Salinger
Salinger was so reclusive and so silent in his seclusion, that many people were probably surprised to hear that he'd died because they thought he was already dead. I don't know whether teenagers are still reading Salinger with the same intense identification that I felt back when I was fifteen or sixteen. But Salinger could really write, and The Catcher in the Rye holds up; so do Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories, and the other books.
Rereading The Catcher in the Rye two years ago, I experienced the book from the perspective of a parent of two young adults, rather than the adolescent I was on the first reading. It is a book about sorrow and loss; in the years since I first read Catcher in the Rye I, like Holden Caulfield, lost a sibling. For years I kept my brother's old baseball glove hidden away in my closet. When I reread Catcher I realized that I had forgotten the detail of Holden's deceased brother's baseball glove. This poignant detail, a baseball glove covered with poems, is so beautiful and moving--it tells you everything about the dead boy. He is the kind of dreamy boy who stands in the outfield and reads poems from his mitt.