Monday, August 2, 2010

J.D. Salinger in 2010

It's been over a decade - a scary thought, if I do so say so myself - that I was introduce to the late J.D. Salinger. Like many high school freshmen - I was taking a sophomore class at the time - the first book that came across my table by Salinger was none other than The Catcher in the Rye. That probably isn't the best book to introduce to a fourteen-year-old up-and-coming cynic. Holden Caulfield was my undoing.

In college, I picked up Nine Stories while reading and rereading Catcher. I avoided Franny and Zooey with every fiber of my being. Now, three years out of college and thirteen years since entering high school, I picked up the latter book and sat down to read it. 

My only problem is, I don't know whether or not to be disillusioned by the late writer. 

There is no mistake, Franny and Zooey is a Salinger book - made up of two short stories, "Franny" and "Zooey" (the latter, however, uses the term short rather loosely). And the book does involve familiar Salinger ideas: Phonies and the rich, privileged kids who hate them. The stories focus on the younger siblings of the Glass family. Franny being the youngest and Zooey being the youngest male. While little detail is revealed about her familial life in the short story named after her, Franny appears in "Zooey" to shed some light on the details of her story. I'm not impressed. I don't even know how I got around to completing the book. Determination, I suppose. 

I don't know. I'm pushing thirty now. I'm unsure if it's wise for me to be reading Salinger and expect the same outcome that he once had on me. I might have outgrown him. Which is sad. Because I can't exactly pinpoint when I stopped wanting to be Holden Caulfield. 

Until next time, keep on huntin'.

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