Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | January 28, 2010

We write like we talk. You know, like Holden Caulfield.

Yes, I know the book was banned. It’s probably why millions read it in the first place. So many people identify “Catcher in the Rye” their favorite/most inspirational book. I must admit, it’s one of mine. And, no, I’m not even sure I understood much of it the first time I read it. I know I didn’t get the whole “catcher in the rye” metaphor. But, what I did get, what I loved to the core, was the voice that jumped off the pages into my head, my heart, and my soul. I “heard” everything Holden said, and as a teen, I was sure no one in the world “got” it the way I did. Why did the book speak to me? Put simply, because it spoke. You could hear the writer speaking in the prose. J.D. Salinger, may he rest in the peace he may or may not have achieved in life, may have been one weird dude (and from what I’m reading in the obits, which by the way, are fascinating, check the one in TIME for an interesting read, he really was bizarre) but man, that guy could write.

And, I think that was the first time I realized that writing could be as simple as talking, which is something I’ve always been good at (talking, that is). I struggled to write when I was young but that all changed when I read “Catcher in the Rye.” I think blogs, in many ways, owe their very existence, in part, to J.D. Salinger. Holden’s whole story reads rather like a blog if you think about it.

So, here’s to you, J.D. From a generation of people who felt your angst, heard your voice, and were touched by your misery in the best way. Your passing makes me grateful today for yours and all the other amazing and inspiring words and voices that lift us up, bring us together, and make us human. Thanks.

What are some of the books and words that make you grateful?

Shira writes:

Tough question. 1. Anything Shel Silverstein ever wrote. My personal favorite is “Frozen Dream.” 2. The Giver by Lois Lowry, because it teaches us that we should embrace our differences, not try to hide them. 3. Are You There God, it’s Me Margaret? because I read it 37 times in 7th grade, and it made me feel better. My students are walking in for homeroom, more to follow…



  1. I loved (still do!) Salinger’s Nine Stories.

    Ian McEwen’s one of my favorite authors.

  2. Loved Nine Stories (and Franny and Zooey) too. I haven’t read any Ian McEwen. I’ll add it to my summer reading list. I’m also seeking good reads, so thanks.

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