I just read The Catcher in the Rye for the second time. I first read it when I was 15 after I'd seen an article in People magazine about Mark David Chapman, the man who shot John Lennon. Chapman described how he planned to hold up The Catcher in the Rye after he killed Lennon and refuse to say anything else. That would be his grand statement to the world. Instead, in real life, he apologized. Which seems a little Holden Caulfield-ish, if you ask me.
I grew up a Beatles fan, even though the Beatles broke up several years before I was born. I used to listen to my older brother's records over and over, pretending I was one of their back-up singers or something. I remember hearing that Lennon had been shot. I remember staying up late as Q104 played one Beatles song after another. And I remember staying home from school the next day in my fuzzy pink robe. Staying home because John Lennon was dead.
I was intrigued when I read the article so I checked the book out of the library. I wanted it to tell me why Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon.
I don't remember much about that first reading except that I felt like I was peeking into someone's thoughts or looking through their window or listening in on a phone call. It felt private. It also felt like not a whole lot happend, but that's what I liked about it.
Now I'm 24 years older. I'm a parent. I still listen to The Beatles. And I still feel like I'm peeking into someone's most private thoughts. But I'm also different. This time I see how funny Holden is. And how sad. And lonely. How he seems to know the rules to the game but can't or won't play by them. And now, I also know a little something about being disillusioned. And sad. And lonely. But I still can't decide if Holden is crazy or if the world is. Maybe both.
Anyway, I've always felt a little sorry for The Catcher in the Rye: banned, burned, and blamed for the murder of John Lennon. I think that's kind of lousy, if you want to know the truth.
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I'm working on reading 52 books in 52 weeks. This is number 19.