I have never read J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. There. I said I said it. All these years I think I’ve been assuming I read it in high school (translate: glanced at to pass the test). I say “I think” because I have no recollection at all, absolutely zero, of this Holden Caufield, this icon of teenagers.
It’s on my mind now because Rex just came home from a trip, pulled this tiny book out of his briefcase — tiny, like you could slip in your hip pocket — and said, I still don’t know if I can say what it’s about. But it was good. There’s a lot of falling. I’m going to have to think about it. This is a pretty slim description for Rex. If I read it, will I see what it’s about?
I pick the paperback up off the table. This edition has a plain white cover. No print at all, excepting the title and author’s name. No synopsis on the back. No blurb, not one, about its classic-ness. Inside, there’s the story. And that’s it. No overwrought, cerebral introduction by a well-known academic or famous-writer-fan. No afterword. No reading guide. Not even an epigraph. What book these days doesn’t have all of this and more, classic or current? I open to the first page and check out the first paragraph: If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is …. That’s it. Now I’m going to have to read it too.