Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dedication to J.D. Salinger (1919-2010)

This post is dedicated to Jerome David "J.D." Salinger. He passed away today at the age of 91. Most notable work by Salinger is Catcher in the Rye and to be honest, that is the only work that I have read of his. He also wrote such work like a collection of short stories Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey; both works that I always see at the bookstore and fail to pick up.

What was also most interesting and perhaps disturbing about Salinger was his reclusive nature in the middle of nowhere New Hampshire. And I recall rumors of him "hanging out" with local high school students. An interesting life of a Mr. Salinger.

I also remember reading Catcher in the Rye in high school and I think I may not have been mature or literary-savvy enough to appreciate his writing especially for the time it was written in. I think my main issue with the novel was the one-sided-ness of the story telling from Holden Caulfield's perspective and it was difficult to understand what was real and what HE perceived as being real. As a student reading this I did not understand why someone, roughly my age, was so selfish, delusional, and in short, bratty. Perhaps now if I read it, I would be able to look deeper. Maybe not. But I cannot deny the effects of this book, and the influence of J.D. Salinger. He will be missed.


Disclaimer: Penny Lam is speaking on her own and NOT behalf of Joshua Lew as we have differing views on Mr. Salinger.

Update: J. D. Salinger was the voice of the youth generation of the mid-50's to late 70's. While I didn't grow up in any of those decades, Salinger's Cather in the Rye deeply influenced/eschewed my literary habits even into adulthood. It was through his works that I initially decided to take a step back and look at the world around me, view with reflective/rebellious eyes anew. Now as I grow older, I still see Salinger's Holden Caulfield for what he is/was, but I still consider Cather in the Rye and to a lesser extent, Salinger's Nine Stories, must reads for any adolescent looking for their place in the world. May you be arguing and shunning all the "phonies" you hate so much where ever you may be. Godspeed Mr. Salinger.

- Joshua

No comments: