J.D. Salinger died yesterday at the age of 91, he was pretty much unknown except for publishing a little known book called Catcher in the Rye. I recently read the book because it’s been pretty much deleted from the list of high school books you must read, partly because of language, partly because of situations the main character gets himself into/finds himself in, and partly because it’s America, we have the freedom to protest everything.
I find in America, more people talk about the ‘great American…’ than in any other culture that I’ve interacted with. And books are no different. “Today’s” Tony Kornheiser show weighed in on whether the people there thought it was the great American book, Mr. Tony thought so, but David Aldridge voted for To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and a friend of Mr. Tony’s voted for Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain aka Samuel Clemens. I throw in The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Salinger was the opposite, the complete opposite of today’s celebrities, with his considerable talents (mostly deduced from his two published works), he was a complete recluse, apparently even had groceries delivered to his house with an envelope of money waiting for the deliverer. The movie Finding Forrester is said to be loosely based on a what if situation revolving around him and what if he came out of his seclusion, etc.
Mr. Tony made a point that he had written Catcher in the Rye when he was in his twenties and publish the short story when he was 45, that the drive was gone, he had made his great piece/mark and it was hard to ever get to that place again, that everything after Catcher in the Rye was probably good, but never to that level, although we’ll probably never know because of how protective he was of his work.