“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours
and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.
That doesn’t happen much, though.”
“The Catcher in the Rye”
I’m kind of obsessed with Salinger right now because I watched “Salinger,” which took viewers into the world of the writer who is almost as famous for being a recluse as he is for penning some of the most important works of 1900s or any era, really.
I never had to read “The Catcher in the Rye” in high school (thanks, backwoods school!), so I read it on my own in my early 20s. I have to come clean: Upon my first reading, I wasn’t that impressed with it. Where was that moment where I identified with everyone’s favorite protagonist, Holden Caulfield? Where was that moment that changed my life? It never came, not even on my second reading of this classic book. Nope, the book that would change my life would come soon after I read this, when I picked up Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” for the first time. To each their own, I suppose.
But after watching the movie and becoming so fascinated by Salinger, who had his heart broken by his first love, lived through the horrors of war, lived within the literary world of New York City back in the ’40s and ’50s and wrote so many letters to so many young women, even as an old man, I want to know more. I want to understand what made him so prolific. I want to identify with his characters and his words the way I’ve identified with the world created by Kerouac and Bukowski.
I’ll be heading to the New York Public Library this week to pick up whatever books of his they have, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll give “The Catching in the Rye” a good, ole college try of a third read.