J.D. Salinger died on my birthday, January 29, 2010. He was 91. I heard about his passing from a dear friend that I have known since grammar school. I recall acting scenes from Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye,” in our high school English class and upsetting our teacher because we included his obscenities.
It was a different time. But Salinger’s work and legacy appear timeless, and it was with great joy that I read his obituary in the online New York Times today. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/books/29salinger.html
I am impressed on two levels–first, the historical accounting of Salinger’s “reclusive life” is impeccable. According to the Times, Salinger served in World War II and was married twice. I saw another obit about him on CBS’s Sunday Morning, which was interesting but not as thorough and accurate. Obituaries are one of the oldest forms of news, and I believe this story is journalism at its best. Maybe we’re simply present day historians? What also makes this story so elegant and interesting is the interactive map of Holden’s wandering through Manhattan (complete with links to Salinger’s writing) and relevant links including Joyce Maynard’s “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back On Life,” which
spawned their ensuing love affair.
So is Journalism today’s history, literature, or an engaging combination of these and other elements? I simply think this worked for me and perhaps the fat lady, too.
Christine M. Tracy