The summer before my sophomore year of high school I decided to read a few novels I’d heard were controversial. I’d been told some of these books were even banned in some states and were often burned in bonfires. So, being the deviant-alternative-rebel I perceived myself to be, I tackled the books that topped the forbidden list: Orwell’s 1984, Nabokov’s Lolita, Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye.
As a young teen, I tried to align myself with anything that might shed some light on how this world worked and how I fit in. I recall reading Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye in one sitting. While I didn’t understand all of Holden’s angst and sense of alienation, his thoughts somehow struck a chord. At the time, I was also listening to U2 and had declared Unforgettable Fire, Under a Blood Red Sky, and War my personal anthems. Those books and that music – simultaneously laden with idealism and rejection of the status quo — laid the foundation for many of the ideas I espoused as a teenager and later as an adult.
I miss that young girl… not sure of what fight to fight, but prepared to fight it.
Salinger’s sad passing recalls those adolescent days.
January 28, 2010