Happy birthday, J. D. Salinger! (You probs don’t care about New Year)

J. D. Salinger Signature

“I’m J.D. Salinger and I wrote The Catcher in the Rye.” Here’s the greatest pickup line ever!

Jerome David Salinger, known to his audience as J.D. Salinger was born on January 1, 1919. He started his literary work at very early age, writing short stories and some of his early works got published in Story magazine. He was born and raised in Manhattan, some would say the heart of the world at the time, a place to be in the 20th century.

And they would be right. That cosmopolitan spirit moulded young Salinger and prepared him for writing of one of the most influential novels of the 20th century. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

This writer-to-be got raised and prepared to be a meat importer by his father, but young Jerome had other plans. He wanted to be a writer and nothing could discourage him from that idea. Not even the war. In 1942 he was drafted into the Army and he was part of the Allied forces that landed on Utah Beach on D-Day in the invasion of Normandy.

During his time in the military, he met Ernest Hemingway. Yes, THE Ernest Hemingway. According to all, they got along very well, but it’s unknown what influence they had on each other. What IS known though, is that Salinger’s most famous novel, Catcher in the Rye, was mostly written during the war.

Catcher in the Rye is the coming of age story about rebellious teen Holden Caulfield. Holden’s teenage angst and alienation is not a big deal nowadays, but in 1951, when the novel was originally published, those themes were considered extremely subversive. (Trivia time: the novel allegedly launched and popularised the phrase “screw up”. Well, it wouldn’t have done so if it screwed up.)

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It was included on Time’s 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923 and that is quite an achievement, considering how fruitful that era in literature was.

J. D. Salinger died nearly eight years ago. And you know what’s greatest about him? He didn’t want to talk. He ignored media. But one doesn’t get to ignore them altogether.

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