I was sitting in my car last night waiting for my son listening to NPR and i heard the news that J.D. Salinger had passed away at the age of 91. A tear fell from my eye and my heart was saddened with the news. Even though we have not seen this accomplished and simply incredible author in decades...not even a whisper of his voice he still remained and will remain a piece of so many.
I wasn't a rebellious kid, always well behaved, good grades and never got in trouble, but some how Holden Caulfield stole my heart and has stayed there till this day. Oh that red book with the simple words Cather in the Rye...what a treat it was from the first sentence to the last. The vast span of emotions that it provoked still amazes me to this day. What is even more special is that it is an experience that I share with my own children, J.D. just hit a vein in kids every where with this masterpiece of literature. Can you even imagine that it was one of the most banned books of all times because of the use of one word...just stop and think...generations past, present and future could have been robbed of this ultimate experience...that would have been criminal. Mr. Salinger gave us many other splendid literary experiences, all totally amazing but none as moving and memorable as Holden.
How I wondered if he was in his New Hampshire Home penning something incredible those 50+ years of being a recluse...what was he doing...out of site...but never out of mind. I was exactly what he wanted people to be when it came to him... keeping the illusion alive...in my mind he was never aging... always mysterious.
You know what else I thank J.D. for...allowing each person that read Catcher to imagine his or her own Holden...to create their own surroundings...visuals...voices and more. He never caved to having his book turned into a movie and FOUGHT the FIGHT to keep it a pure literary experience for all that read it. I mean come on now... he said NO to Steven Spielberg! Amazing in today's day and age...but Holden is still who YOU want him to be.
I could go on and on but I am just going to say...Rest In Peace J.D. Salinger and thank you so much for the memories...you will live on in Holden for an eternity and Holden will live in the mind of your readers forever and a day... that is truly what you wanted. Well...one more thing...here is a quote from the Catcher...the one that hangs on to the idea of eternal youth:
Holden: "Anyway, I keep picturing these little kids playing some game in this big field or rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean, except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff.What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy."