January 29, 2010
JD Salinger: American Literary Legend Enters The Great Library In The Sky
Farewell JD Salinger. The reclusive author, most famous for his 1951 novel Catcher in the Rye, died Wednesday at his New Hampshire home. Long out of the spotlight due to the fact that he shunned his super stardom, its not a surprise that information on his death came out a full day after he actually died. He had successfully published a few short stories in the 40's, and one even got optioned for a movie. But Sam Goldwyn destroyed the soul of Salinger's short story "Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut" when he made the film "My Foolish Heart". Salinger hated the movie, and vowed to never allow his work to be adapted again. This was something he never gave in on. His first novel was Catcher In the Rye. Salinger was one of those rare talents that nailed it on the first shot, having a hugely successful novel with his first published book. He recieved offers from the Hollywood elite for over 5 decades to adapt the novel. Billy Wilder and Steven Spielberg, two of the greatest directors ever, both tried unsuccessfully to option the book. He would not budge.
Salinger hated the spotlight, and it is rumored that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the time he spent in the army during World War II. He lead a very sheltered life out of the public eye and with the success of Catcher in the Rye he probably didn't want for much. Catcher has sold over 65 million books worldwide and still, 59 years later, moves 250,000 copies a year. It is the quintessential High School English class book, along with Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Although the book was criticized for its language and sexual content in the 60's and the 70's, it is widely accepted as a literary masterpiece that is close to perfection in most of today's modern literary circles. Holden Caufield is the one of the most recognizable characters in literature, and its a shame that a great actor never got to bring him to life on the silver screen. Hopefully, once Salinger's material enters into public domain sometime in like 70 years, there will be a filmmaker that will get a crack at this classic. Its a shame that I'll probably be gone before that happens. Peace out JD, enjoy the spotlight in heaven that you so rightfully deserved but shunned here on earth...