My Tribute to J.D Salinger

I cant really cite J.D Salinger as my favorite author. I only read one of his books, his masterpiece, The Catcher on The Rye. Don Mario Puzo still tops my list.

Thanks to Indonesian illiteracy culture, The Catcher on The Rye wasn’t featured on my rebellious teenage days. I was too busy reading Soe Hok Gie back then. I hardly knew the existence of the book until somebody in Sartorialist wore a shirt with The Catcher’s cover pic printed on it. Yes, the artsy orange horse.

I was curious because people in Sartorialist were talking about it, not only the graphic image from the cover, but also the book itself. I asked my mate about it (she’s more than a mate back then, im not sure whether she still considers me a mate or not these days) and she said that the novel didn’t impress her so much. It’s not like I always took her bibliotheque taste as a reference, but somehow I managed to believe her on that one.

The book never caught my attention until I found it on a rack in Aksara, Citos, a couple of month ago. They said that a book’s cover has a major role to convince one to buy it or not. The Catcher’s cover, to be honest, is not attractive at all. (Later I reckoned that J.D Salinger always insisted the cover to be as simple as it could be. No quotes, no synopsis). I only bought it home just for the sake of sentimentality.

Everytime I start to read a book, I always try to find a review about it. With The Catcher on The Rye, I think I had read 5 or 6 reviews before start reading it. I didnt expect something enormous would come out of it because I don’t believe in general consensus. But, as I turned its pages one by one, I was starting to realized that, at some point, this book is about me and the silly childish yet honest personality.

The main character, Holden Caulfield, bears a resemblance to myself. His perspective of viewing the world, his aversion of anything phony: people, personality, educational institution, etc, his sarcastic remakrs, his horsing-around behaviour, are much the same with myself. This fictional character is not a fiction at all. He’s so effin real.

There are many of us rebels in this world and I can clearly see why The Catcher on The Rye has become a cult. Holden Caulfield is a perfect portrait of how young people always find it hard to fit in already-established environment. We hate schools, we do. We hate rules, we do. We hate teachers, we do. But most of all, we hate hypocrisy, yes we do.

Jerome David Salinger died on 27 January 2010. This is my tribute to him. I have a novel in progress and I’ve been stuck for ages. Writer’s block, I suppose. If I ever finish it, I would owe the recent-deceased a gratitude.

The author has passed away, but Holden Caulfiled may lives forever.

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