Salinger, Phoebe and Me

NPR reports that J.D. Salinger died at age 91.

I named my first cat Phoebe, after Holden Caulfield’s
sister.  I’ve met cats named Esme, too (love that
character), and two friends of mine met, wooed and
married due, in part, to a shared love of Catcher in the
Rye
: they named their first born Holden.

I have a fondness for the novel, probably because I only attempted to “teach” it once (in an upper division American Novel class): it went well, with a class of mostly 20-30somethings, most of whom hadn’t read it before (interestingly).  One woman in the class was in her 60s, and she related to the book more than all of us: she focused on Holden’s grief, and her perspective (she was the only one in the room who was alive during the late 40s/early 50s) added to our discussion in so many ways.

So Salinger the recluse is dead. Soon we’ll all be wondering/hoping that he has a few novels hidden away that will soon be shared?

[Here are some of his  The New Yorker stories.]

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4 responses to “Salinger, Phoebe and Me

  1. Interesting. In my experience, people who didn’t first read Catcher in the Rye as teens don’t respond as enthusiastically as those that did.

    Either way, I’m up for a rereading.

  2. I was surprised, too (first, that so few had read it, and second, that most of them were able to appreciate it as adults—though of course there were a few who concluded that Holden was just spoiled and annoying).

    That class was nearly 10 years ago for me, so that is the last time I reread the book. I’m not particularly interested in rereading it now: I’d rather reread his short stories…It always interested me that they are never anthologized. I wonder why?

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