The Catcher in the Rye:
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J.D. Salinger is died, of course. He was 91.
Last summer I read "The Catcher in the Rye" for the very first time. I figured it was about time for me to read that book. After all, John Lennon bled to death on a New York City sidewalk while his assassin stood by reading the novel in paperback.
But I had no idea "The Catcher in the Rye" was going to be so disappointing. I felt cheated by the book. I really did. I felt cheated by the way the story ends.
The only happy relationship Holden seems to have in the book is with his kid sister. The scene near the end of the story in his sister’s bedroom is something Salinger builds to from very early in on in the novel. After slogging through page after page of Holden’s miserably existence, we are finally in the presents of someone who actually loves Holden. Eventually even the relationship between Holden and his sister gets damaged and the book just sort of meanders off and stops.
That’s not fair. No one in their right mind would ever end a story that way. It’s not right! After all the crap this poor kid’s been through, Holden deserves redemption. He deserves to be loved.
I know Holden is having a really bad day. Holden has a really bad day every day. I know all that. But Holden is so stupid; he deserves to learn about love.
There are two absolutely dreadful books about Salinger I’m ashamed to admit I’ve read:
“Dream Catcher” is a memoir by his daughter Margaret A. Salinger. It is a particularly vile piece of literature. I really don’t want to waste any of your time explaining why I hate this disgusting book so much. I feel unclean sitting in its presents.
“At Home in the World” is not quite as bad as “Dream Catcher.” It’s Joyce Maynard’s stupid story about her childhood and her relationship with J.D. Salinger.
It seems when she was 18 the New York Times Magazine published Maynard’s cute little picture on its cover and a story she’d written about being a teenager. The 50 year old author sent her a fan letter. She wrote back. It didn’t take very long - Joyce Maynard dropped out of college just shy of graduation and moved in with Salinger (with her families blessing)…you get the picture.