Thursday, January 28, 2010

Catcher in the Rye

I was 17 when I read Catcher in the Rye. Seeing today's announcement of the passing of its author, J.D. Salinger, takes me back to one of the most important books I've ever read.

Our high school English teacher, the wife of a pastor, recommended it to a few of us. She was speaking almost in a whisper, as she leaned in to the small group she had led to a corner of her room. She knew the book was considered a provocative work for its language and subject matter, yet she also knew we'd benefit enormously from reading it.

A few years later, one of my sisters, then in her late 20s, read it and couldn't figure what all the fuss was about. I told her she was too old. And she was. It's one of those works not to be read too young nor too old.

Thank you, J.D. All of us writers hope to publish something that will have an impact on others' lives. Any discussion on the power of writing will almost always contain a reference to Catcher in the Rye. You scored big, Mr. S., and I'm glad you knew it decades ago.

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