I was watching PBS last night, and they had two white men on elegizing about J. D. Salinger.
I wonder, seeing some of the tributes, if I'm the only person who thought The Catcher in the Rye was a waste of my time in high school.
I have to admit, I haven't reread it since. Nor have I reread the Hemingway books that irritated me. I swear, I counted and he said on the first page of one book that it was raining six times. Six times. Yeah, I figured it out. It's raining. Six times.
It's not that I didn't read sexist stuff a-plenty back then (and now), but those books especially, just irritated me. I remember my friend Eric and I mocking tyhe BS slang. Being high schoolers, we just mocked and didn't really analyze our response to the book or characters. Retrospectively, for me, a lot of the response had to do with gender. Really, we were asked to identify with this privileged white male running around New York City in the 50s. But Eric was Chinese-American, so maybe his response had something to do with the racism I vaguely remember in the text? Maybe ours was the reaction of suburban kids for whom New York City was someplace unimaginable and (to be honest) just not that interesting compared to the city near us. Maybe ours was the reaction of kids who'd grown up in the 60s/70s and weren't nostalgic for the 50s?
And as long as I'm thinking back, I want to apologize to Ms. Jackson for being a rude teenaged idiot in class. I'd want to smack myself.
J.D. Salinger may have been a wonderful person (or not), but that book was pure torture for me.