Back in November I wrote of my love for the book The Catcher In the Rye. It’s a book that blew my mind when I first read it in 1982. How Salinger knew what I was feeling decades before I existed was a mystery to me. Holden Caulfield embodied the confusion, exhaustion, and boredom that I would also feel throughout my middle and high school years. Even at the age of forty, I am often sure that the world is full of phonies.
Last night after dinner, my husband went online. ‘Oh, honey,’ he said. ‘I’m sorry. You’re going to be really sad.’
And I was. But it wasn’t the kind of sad that you feel when something tragic happens. After all, JD Salinger was 94. He wrote what is, in my opinion the great American novel. Many dream of that chance. In addition he went on to write several books about the Glass family- also beloved among his fans. And then he made a pile of dough and went to live in a house far away from everyone. You may not agree with his choices or beliefs- many people didn’t. But he didn’t give a crap about that. He lived a good long life and he had lived it on his terms.
So the sad I felt was more like losing a teacher who played a significant role for me at a critical time in my life. I learned things from JD Salinger. His writing opened up my worldview when I was in middle school. Which was a time when, frankly, I needed a little more understanding from the adults in my life. It meant so much to me at the time, and I’m grateful that I can turn back to The Catcher In the Rye whenever I want. That’s the power of books and writing, right there.