J.D. Salinger passed away yesterday, but it made headlines today. He was 91 years old.
"Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody."
The J.D. Salinger of Catcher in the Rye fame. Of the seclude-myself-and-not-publish-a-book-for-40-years fame.
I'm not going to say I'm bawling my eyes out or something because I didn't know the guy. I just knew the book and all. Knew Holden. So maybe I did know him, just a bit. Because every author's main character has a bit of them in them. So Holden is a bit of Salinger, maybe more. Holden Caulfield, who's the greatest antihero I've ever read, who wanders around New York after being expelled from prep school, who's the champion of teenage angst and rebellion. Who has this amazing, voice--like boy, it really is amazing. So amazing that it's rang true since the book's publication in 1951.
Catcher in the Rye has been censored and banned all over the place but it's still managed to sell 65 million copies since it's just so great. Not phony at all. I mean, I'm sure it's a lot of people's favorite book. For what it's worth, I loved it. And thank you Salinger for writing it.
Anyway, people are already getting into a frenzy and speculating about all the possible books Salinger kept locked around in his safe. Because even though he didn't publish anything since the 1960s, he still wrote everyday. He wrote for himself. Which I think is the greatest form of writing. When you don't do it for anybody else, but just because you love it.
Maybe we'll be seeing some more books by Salinger in bookstores in the upcoming years. Maybe not.
But, RIP Salinger. You were eccentric, sure. You have a very interesting bio on wikipedia, that I still remember reading from a couple months ago and just going, "Boy, that was fascinating."
But you were brilliant and I loved Catcher in the Rye when I read it last summer.
"I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all… I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye."
quotes from Catcher in the Rye
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