120 J.D. Salinger

alright, i should give some credit to Salinger for writing one of the most influential and relatable novels of the 20th century.

having watched Salinger it was truly an insightful documentary of this man’s life, to a certain extent it is no doubt dramatised. but it meddled with loss, darkness and pain. as much as Catcher in the Rye seems to be a close reflection to his personal life, this angsty teenager is not unfamiliar to us. deep inside he crave acceptance yet he is ambivalent towards these “phonies”.

yet Holden Caufield’s creator was not as simple as he seems, call him mysterious or reclusive. first of all what amused me was how he wanted so badly to be published in the new yorkers – cosmopolitan and other magazine publications were not good enough for him. but when he had his “big break”, he retreats and isolates himself. i wonder what could he really have wanted? acceptance from the world but changes his mind after?

then i find it quite haunting that he mentioned that the only person who could play Holden Caufield was himself. his life was in that book, and i’d like to believe that because he penned an unofficial “memoir”, the public was able to relate and take it personally. and that’s where his life is for the world to see, yet everyone could fit the shoes of Holden – Salinger himself! hats off to a man who can pick apart his life and readers are able to piece them together and say, “this is me”. incredible.

when Salinger shared with reporter, Betty Eppes, that “writing Holden was a mistake”, my heart broke. imagine immortalising your life in a story and then saying that it was a mistake. the writer has gone through the pains of putting this masterpiece together and when the public dramatises it, it’s like trying to snatch it from the world but they refuse to let it go because their soul is a part of it now.

i’ve got to say, i think Salinger’s secrecy is what gets me most. his broken heart from making a “mistake” of publishing Holden has caused him to clamp up other greater books he has written i guess.


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