Sunday, January 31, 2010

J.D. Salinger and Jack Kerouac

J.D. Salinger, who died this past week at age 91, and Jack Kerouac, who died at the too-young-age of 47 in 1969, did have something in common, according to Mike Littwin of The Denver Post:
There was a time when the book [Catcher in the Rye] was in every backpack alongside Kerouac's "On the Road" as textbooks for how to be a young rebel.

Both Salinger's and Kerouac's examples of rebelliousness can seem a bit tame in today's culture of extreme everything, but they both hit a chord that still speaks today to those who would listen to their message and not get hung up on cultural specifics.

I am sad to say that I've never read Catcher in the Rye, although I plan to begin rectifying that as soon as I finish Atlas Shrugged, which should be tomorrow.

I think Catcher was "required" reading at some point in high school, but somehow I avoided it. That was part of how, to my own detriment, my rebellious streak manifested: refusing to read when I was told I "had to." So, now, in my later years, I've become obsessed with Kerouac, who, like Salinger, I'd never read until well into middle age; I'm currently reading Ayn Rand's incredibly dense tome; and, I'm anticipating with relish finding out just who was this Holden Caulfield character, why he was out in a rye field, and what in the Hell he was catching.


P.S. If you want to read a poem I wrote about Salinger, check out my other blog here.

3 comments:

Jonny Ross said...

that makes two of us who haven't read it. sad to hear about salinger's passing (even at 91) but a good opportunity to explore the books and stories he left us.

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

jonny, a friend of mine in Maine just told me she tried to read it once and it was so awful she didn't finish it. So that makes three of us (for now - if I finish it we'll be back to two).

Francis said...

Well, you're in for a treat.The last few lines of the penultimate chapter always choke me up.