Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nothing Phony About It

I love Catcher in the Rye as much as the next guy, so when I heard that Salinger had died, I got it off the shelf straightaway. I enjoyed it this time through more than ever. It's been years since I've read it, and a couple things struck me.

First of all, it's an absolute joke that I was not REQUIRED to read this book in either high school OR college. Not something I'm particularly proud of. I had to take it upon myself, after college. I'm sure Holden would get a kick out of that. They never let you read the good stuff in school.

Everybody loves this book, loves Holden. The people who love this book the most may be writers. I can see and hear Salinger in so many of the authors I've read over the years. Not that people are copying, it's just hard not to be inspired by Salinger's voice and style. This may sound like I'm stating the obvious, but it really hit me as I was reading. I dare say, the influence of this book is Shakespearean.

I guess I forgot, but I was struck by all the swearing, smoking, and sex talk. Made me wonder how a book like Catcher would be received in our current cultural climate. I can just see the culture warriors at Fox losing their minds. Of course, that could help too, but I just couldn't shake the feeling that ol' Holden would have more than his share of detractors. There may have been a lot of phonies in his time, but I'm afraid we may have him beat.

No comments:

Post a Comment