I was almost in disbelief when I read the news at yahoo. J.D. Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye, is already dead. Foolish as it may sound but I have always thought he was immortal. Nobody probably thought he was already so old (he was 91 when he died) because he kept himself isolated from society.
Being one of the most mysterious writers of the century, J.D.’s death will surely do nothing but add more to the mystique that has shrouded him for the last few decades. In fact, I have this theory that everybody will soon forget that he is already dead because they are so used to J.D. being into hiding.
As everybody knows, his most popular work is Catcher in the Rye published in the ‘50s. Honestly, I do not remember most of the details of the book since I have read it when I was just in first year high school. However, I do recall that it was somehow amusing because it was able to capture how it is to be a teenager. It has all the ingredients that would make it instantly appealing to typical adolescents – the angst, drama, shallow relationships, silly aspirations, and phony love, to name a few. I’ve been meaning to read it again to sort of refresh my memory but kept postponing it due to more urgent priorities.
While the book may sound like it was intended for youngsters, I believe it can be quite interesting to adults too. Circumstances in life, after all, are recurring. They just come in different guises. I suppose this is what the book is trying to teach us – pick yourself up when you fall, take responsibilities for your actions and learn from your experiences. It tells us that we are in control of our lives most of the time, no matter how we think otherwise. Other than this, it underlines the fact that we would always yearn for simpler (maybe even quirky) things in life no matter how big and grand (and serious) our plans may be.
One way or another, Catcher in the Rye is one unforgettable book for me because of its contrasting elements of simplicity and complexity. All emotions were captured and effectively conveyed to the reader. You could laugh at some lines or feel sympathy for the protagonist. In addition, the book was generously sprinkled with cuss words thus, initiating me to a world I never knew before. After finishing the story, I was crazy looking for the meaning of “sonuvabitch.” Haha!
J.D. Salinger is an equally extraordinary character. He will forever be alive to the people touched by his works. I am one of those lucky enough to be exposed to Catcher in the Rye early on. Through this book, J.D. has provided a very important lesson that is not commonly taught in the traditional classroom where I was part of during that time. The knowledge has stayed on and will continue to guide me.
By the way, it was also very recently when I found out that J.D. stands for Jerome David.