JD Salinger died last week, at 91. It seems the author was as enigmatic as his iconic character, Holden Caulfield. Salinger lived a reclusive life in New Hampshire, never granting interviews. I do recall him making headlines a few years back when he tried to stop the publication of a spin-off novel about Holden's adult life.
My "Catchers" disappeared off the shelf quickly, so in order to read it, I grabbed a copy from our amazing Manitowoc Public Library. If you haven't been there in a while, check it out. You'd be surprised at how many new programs they offer. Anyway, the first thing that struck me was the bright, white cover with a couple colorful vertical strips. What happened to that plain, deep maroon cover with the title in bright yellow? I loved that cover. You could pick it out anywhere...which was the polar opposite of what most teenagers wanted. After Peyton Place, and Harrison High, I think The Catcher in the Rye must have been the most surepticiously read book by teens in history.
Reading it again was fun. My first impression was that Holden was just a rich, prep school kid complaining about everything. In the end, beneath the angst, the uncontrollable temper, and the fear of giving in to temptation, I found Holden to be a rather nice guy -a nice guy who made some bad decisions. I loved his concern for his little sister Phoebe, and the honesty with which he spoke of his brother's death. Heck, he even worried about the welfare of the ducks in winter. But beyond that, Holden was powerfully sad about the superficiality he saw all around him. In this character, Salinger gave us a pre-cursor to the youthful rebellion of the 60's - a time when everything from wealth to morality was being questioned.
Salinger also wrote Franny and Zooey, which I think I like more than Catcher when I read it in college.
*****Heart-A-Rama auditions are next Sunday at 12:00, and Monday at 7:00 in the Kadow Hall at the Capitol Civic Centre. They are painless, and even a bit fun. We will have you read from a script, and then sing! Most people sing "Happy Birthday" but if you care to sing an aria from La Boheme, that would be grand. We're a nice bunch...give us a try.
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