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J.D. Salinger R.I.P.

January 28, 2010

I found out about an hour ago. First thing I thought was: does this mean all Salinger’s unpublished works will get published? Second thing: Wow, a lot of celebrities are dying, does this have some strange correlation with the economic climate? Third thing: wow, J.D. f–ing Salinger.

Most people I know are either for or against Salinger; they think he’s a god or think he’s an abomination. Most people who think the latter tend to view Salinger as cliche and/or more of a big deal than he should be, but maybe that’s because they (adolescents especially) feel oppressed by how Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye convinced society that they ‘knew’ young people, that they ‘understood’ them. Then again, feel free to accuse me for perpetuating the same overanalysis that plenty of people blame J.D. Salinger critics for.

I’m 17, so Salinger is important to a lot of kids my age, mostly because it was likely the first book a school made them read that wasn’t ‘traditional lit.’ I like Salinger simply on the basis that it got kids to read who never read, like this kid in my school who’s probably read 8 books in his life but whose scanty bookshelf contains every novel, story collection, whatever, that Salinger has ever written. Is it terrible that with all the whispering around the school hallways today, half of the kids seemed glad, happy that his death at least brought the possibility of a few posthumous novels? Certainly I’m looking forward to him, and I hate posthumous novels, especially when they’re half written and someone decides to ghost write the other half, as was the case with the late Michael Critchton.

Speaking of poor Critchton, anyone else feel that all the celebs have been dying lately? Sure there’s Michael Jackson, but then there’s also John Updike, Natasha Richardson, Sarah Fawcett, Britney Murphy???

And what are your feelings about Salinger himself?

(Also, a nice link with a few classic Salinger excerpts via The Guardian to jog the memory and amp up the nostalgia)

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