Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thanks, Salinger.

For a while I have been trying to determine why I have such a feirce love of Holden Caulfield, and I think that I've finally figured it out. Holden is mine. Now, I realize that there are millions and millions of other pre-teens, teenagers, young adults, fully-grown adults and assassins who all feel that they can claim Holden is theirs, that he is their best friend. I know this, but I've never met any of them. I, myself, find this to be an extremely strange phenomenon since apparently Holden fans are around every corner. I guess none of them are near my corners. So, to get to the point, the reason I hold Catcher in the Rye on such a pedestal is because not one ounce of my love for this book has been influenced by anyone else.

I am one of those extremely unoriginal people who are extremely predicable and don't like to think for themselves. Heck, the only reason I read and probably loved A Clockwork Orange was because of the first boy that ever noticed me. He loved it, I loved it. Lame, I know. This is the same reason I liked Dinosaurs. I liked the color purple in 4th grade because everyone else did.I wanted to put my hair in those ridiculous braids because Alanis did. I liked Doreets on my own though, if that makes me any more original.

I don't like to think when I read. In fact, I think that analyzing literary works is obnoxious. If I were to write a novel, I'd just want people to read it for readings sake. Not to make any sort of suggestions about it. It is what it is. Sure, I like to interpret books the way I want to, who doesn't. I think that's why authors write. Not so we can sit her and discuss their merit. I read to read. I read to learn something about someone who doesn't exist. To meet someone who won't judge you, but who you can love just the same. I just like to pretend that my life has the same amount of meaning as these characters that I am reading and the fact that the author thought that their character was important enough to write an entire novel about them, well, that's enough for me. This guy is important. He's important to so many people. He's oddly important to me. In fact, when I tell people that my favorite book is Catcher and people tell me that they "hated" the book, I take it personally. How could you say that about the man I want to marry. The boy I want my children to be like. This book has a point, you don't have to understand it, but Holden is everything. So please, if you've read it and you know me, don't tell me that you hated it.

All the time I pray that I will find someone who will love Holden the way that I love him. I swear if I have a son his name will be Holden James. Holden for obvious reasons and James for James Castle, the boy who jumped out the window (no need to explain that one either). If I ever was to get a tattoo, it would be a quote from Holden. I think you can tire of the things he says, but you'll always love them. I'm not even sure how many times I've read this book, but like I said before, at this point in my life I am terrified to reread it in fear that Holden won't be everything I remember, since he is basically everything to me.

I know that Salinger wrote other books, I've read them all and enjoyed every minute of them, perhaps too much. But while I was trying to figure out why I love Holden so much, I came across the idea of maybe I just love this generation, the whole Caulfield family, the whole Glass family. The idea of the upper-class Manhattanites in a time which I will forever immortalize as the only time worth living in. There is something so incredibly romantic about this time period (I guess post WWII through the early 1960's) that will never be imitated. It's all I want though. I would give anything to step into a time machine and walk around New York, go in the Lavender Room, know someone named Phoebe. I think that maybe I just romanticize the entire Salinger oeuvre. Holden still seems the perfect boy. The perfect brother, the perfect friend, the perfect soul mate. I'm not sure if I love him slightly because (here comes the hypocrite in me) of The Good Girl with Jenifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhaal. Jake's character renames himself Holden and from that day forward, I pictured Holden as Jake Gyllenhaal and I thought that the only person who could ever play Holden in a movie is Jake. I don't think I'd want to watch a movie of Catcher in the Rye if ever it was allowed.
I'm going to stop there and maybe write some more next time. This is just how I feel after reading a book of essay's about Salinger's writings.

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