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For J.D.-with love, not squalor

January 29, 2010 - Nikki Younk
Since my last post was pretty stupid, I’m changing it right away. There’s a more important topic to discuss, anyway.

If you take a look at my mini-biography over on the right hand side of your screen, you’ll see that I list several of my favorite authors. One of those authors, Mr. J.D. Salinger, died yesterday.

Like many of today’s youth, I read, and loved, “Catcher in the Rye” when I was a teenager. I’m not really sure why, but I imagine that Holden Caulfield’s teen angst and descent into mental breakdown really resonated with me. When you’re a teenager, your emotions are magnified. Everything becomes a life-and-death situation. I think Mr. Salinger really captured that idea.

I wasn’t until later on that I read Salinger’s few other published works. I vividly remember a fitful summer a few years back when I spent my days hiding in the corners of the Ann Arbor Borders bookstore, reading “Franny and Zooey,” “Nine Stories,” and “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters...” Every short story seemed better than the last.

I became quite depressed when I finished, knowing that there were no more stories to be read, no more chapters in the saga of the intriguing Glass family.

I guess that’s how Salinger wanted it, though. To leave us wanting more. Unsatisfied.

Say what you want about the man himself. He was as famous a recluse as Howard Hughes. Maybe he was as crazy. Who knows.

I think Salinger’s refusal to conform made him even more genuine. He wasn’t one of those artists who talked about alienation, boredom, and despair then gleefully profited from it. He was exactly the type of character that he wrote about. To use his character Holden’s own word, Salinger was no phony.

Rest in peace, Mr. Salinger.


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