Thursday, January 28, 2010

JD Salinger: 1919-2010

Few books are as easy to teach as The Catcher in the Rye. Even today, students relate immediately to narrator Holden Caulfield, an alienated teenager whose voice speaks simultaneously of lost innocence, rebellion, and vulnerability. It's worth another read if you haven't read it in a while, and proved to be incredibly influential to my own writing. Johnny O'Shea, the protagonist of my young adult mysteries Celtic Tiger, Celtic Knot, and Celtic Cross, at once references and mocks Caulfield. Despite the intimacy of Holden Caulfield's thoughts and characterization, few writers are as elusive as Salinger, whose mystique only increased with his desire for privacy, but in my mind, a writer who turns disenfrachised teenagers into readers has done the world a profound service.

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