JD Salinger

J.D. Salinger was an American novelist and short story writer, best known for his 1951 book The Catcher in the Rye, as well as his decision in the 1960s to become a recluse, publish nothing and fight crime (we're just connecting the dots).

There's probably a secret passage behind that bookcase.

Just The Facts

  1. Left Austria a month before it was annexed by the Nazis, fought in D-Day, helped liberate the first concentration camps, hung out with Ernest Hemingway and interrogated prisoners of war.
  2. Yes, his World War II experience makes his backstory a combination of Magneto, Wolverine, Captain America and Indiana Jones. We're just saying...
  3. Has turned down all requests to film The Catcher in the Rye, including ones from Jerry Lewis, Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Billy Wilder and Steven Spielberg. When offered a black check and told 'Write any number you want' he turned it down saying 'Holden wouldn't like it'.

The Writing

In his lifetime, Salinger published four, count 'em, four books, The Catcher in the Rye (1951), Nine Stories (1953), Franny and Zooey (1961) and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963).

The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye tells the story of Holden Caulfied, who is kicked out of prep school and decides to wander around New York before he goes home to face his family. In 1981 it managed to be simultaneously the second most taught book in public schools and the most censored book in the US, even more censored than the infamous erotic novel The Babysitters Club: Kirtsy's Great Idea:

'Let's all experiment on eachother!'

The Catcher in the Rye has divided critics ever since, with some praising it as one of the great American novels of the twentieth century and <a href="http://www.cracked.com/funny-3199-catcher-in-rye/" rel="nofollow" >others</a> denouncing it as 'pretty much what English teachers think high school kids think is cool', and criticising Holden for 'acting a big game and but then getting beaten and shot down and NOT PORKING A HOOKER!'

All valid opinions. We leave you to judge.

Nine Stories

As the title implies, a collection of stories published by The New Yorker, plus two that they rejected. Most notable for the stories 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish' and 'For Esme - with Love and Squalor', as well as 'inspiring' the name of Jake Gyllenhaal's production company.

Also, Robert Pattinson totally digs it

Franny and Zooey

A combo of a short story and a novella about a brother sister in the Glass family, who appear in alot of Salinger's work. It brought to the forefront Salinger's growing interest in eastern philosophy, with Franny experimenting with continuous prayer, while maintaining his theme of youthful alienation. It also solves the mystery of what Zooey Deschanel's parents were thinking when they named her.

'There is no way we're naming our baby Franny'

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction

A collection of two novellas concerning the older siblings in the Glass family. In the first, Buddy Glass attends his brother Seymour's wedding, and deals with the guests after Seymour and the bride elope. The latter is Buddy's attempt to introduce the reader to a character that chances are they've already read extensively about (one for the fans).

The Man

Okay, so straight off the bat: Salinger was crazy. And not in the 'Ooh, Angelina Jolie collects knives and wanted to be a funeral director when she was a child' crazy. We're talking crazy-crazy. The kind of crazy that only extremely wealthy people who never leave their homes can get away with without being committed. The kind of crazy that would make Gary Busey ask 'Mommy, what's wrong with that man?'

A list of stories of Salinger's craziness in the years between his decision to move from New York to Cornish, New Hampshire in 1953 and his death in 2010 is longer than we can honestly be bothered with, but among the highlights of his belief system are:

  • Practicing dianetics and meeting their inventor, L. Ron Hubbard.

Yep, we're tapping this well again.

  • Christian science.
  • Macrobiotics.
  • Fasting.
  • Vomiting to remove impurities.
  • Overdosing on Vitamin C.
  • The ominous sounding urine therapy (we were too chicken to Google it)
  • Speaking in tongues
  • And sitting in an orgone box.

Nope, us neither...

As much as we want to write a series of snappy jokes about Salinger's goofiness, the fact that in 1957 his wife was almost pushed to committing suicide and killing their daughter kinda sucks the larfs out of it. Not to mention the fact that Salinger, a rich, succesful World War II veteran, lived to be 91 years old and enjoyed a series of romantic relationships with women half his age, despite living as a vigilant recluse in a small-town...

'Who's laughing now...?'

Now if you'll excuse us, we're off to find an Orgone box on eBay...