Catcher in the Rye: J.D. Salinger: A True Story, No Kidding, I Mean Really.
It took me roughly ten years to pull myself together and return to this book and actually read it. It was assigned when I was a High School student and I never completed the damn thing for what ever reason. I’m not sure if I was too immature, too scared, or just plain lazy not to read it but I didn’t. As it turned out, I was more like Holden then I could have ever even imagined.
A week before my 26th birthday I decided to buy another copy of the famed book Catcher in the Rye. I picked up the edition at my favorite book shop in NYC with the original cover design loosely drawn depicting the books last scene, not the rainbow student edition. I think it was that bland cover that made me never want to pick it up; the minimal design never caught me when I was young and it still doesn’t. I wanted to finally come to terms with that one novel that kept resting in the back of my mind all those years and meet Holden Caulfield once and for all.
I was hooked from the first page. When I came to the book I had finally lived a little and been through the likes of Kerouac, Hemingway and even Steinbeck. Salinger’s character Holden and I became good friends in my mind, honestly. No kidding. I mean I really wanted to give old Jane a buzz. I did. The book was released in 1951 and here I am reading this in 2010 and I dig it like none other. I understand it. I get underneath it and Holden has got a hold on me like we see the world through the same eyes. When people say please, it depresses me too. It actually does.
The last scene of the book when Holden finally realizes his decision and enjoys the moment we both share in the revelation that is coming home. On my way back to Brooklyn after my long day at work and the gym I finished the book with that feeling you get when you are not too sad to let go but also excited for what will happen next even though you are only left in your own isolation.
I finished this wonderful story and I felt like I knew something intimate about its author. As I finished this story in silence J.D. Salinger was also slipping into his own. He would die that same day Wednesday January 27th of natural causes. He was 91.
I sit here now Thursday afternoon. My fiancé Katya sent me the news. I remain stunned that after a decade of keeping myself away from this powerful story, I finish the day he died. Full closure.
Immortality in art, it’s why we make it right?
"Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."
~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 26