Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Vindication on Catcher in the Rye!

A. Scott Berg

In the NYT weekend edition for July 8-9 (2017), A. Scott Berg gives his answers in "By the Book," and I feel vindicated, for when he was asked this question:
Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel you were supposed to like, and didn't? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
He answered:
"The Catcher in the Rye." I don't want to sound like a "phony," but I didn't like it when I was 16; and I didn't like it when I picked it up again 50 years later . . . and couldn't finish it.
As readers of my blog know, I also dislike the book, so much so that I wrote this poem when Salinger died:
Requiem for J. D. S.
It came to me the other day,
Just when you died -- I had to say --
"Hmm, that's a shame. Not young, but full
Of unkept promise plumbable."

With that, a shrug, and tearless eyes,
I met your overdue demise;
My wife's response was just, you know,
"I thought he died a while ago."

Your life, a shabby subterfuge,
Your death, unreal, not dark or huge,
No shock of it to register --
Except but where it did occur.
You'll also find this poem in my recent book of poems, Radiant Snow. And yes, I'm borrowing from Updike.



At 12:31 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

I read through Catcher, but that was back in the 1990s, and the book was so unmemorable that I can't, for the life of me, recall the plot.

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

The book was a phony!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

cph here--I sure did find it to be quite mediocre when I finally read it 6-8 years ago. Maybe you have to read it when you're 16, which I didn't...

At 4:14 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...


Jeffery Hodges

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