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Happy birthday J.D. Salinger


JD SalingerHappy birthday to J.D. Salinger – the reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye is 90 years old today. No big party, no busty blonde bombshell jumping out of a cake, no parade down the streets of Cornish in New Hampshire where he lives/hides. The Catcher in the Rye was released in 1951 and turned him into a literary superstar. His last published work was a short story in The New Yorker in June 1965.

I wonder what he’s been doing since the 1960s. Did he carry on writing and simply file away his stories because he didn’t need to get them published? After all The Catcher in the Rye would provide all the royalties he’d ever need. I’m not sure he’d be a television watcher but the Internet must have been a Godsend for him. Not only could he order his groceries online and avoid those pesky fans hanging around outside his house but he could sign up for LibraryThing and write negative reviews of Salman Rushdie books on Amazon.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he suddenly decided to go public with one last burst? Imagine what he’d say about teenagers today – how they rebel by playing computer games all day, how they wear their trousers half way down their arse and how they can’t utter a sentence without using the word ‘like’ seven or eight times.

I know this is dreadfully sad but I’m sure he’d be fascinated with the teenagers who walk into high schools or universities with a gun and open fire. What would he say about that? He must have heard about Virginia Tech or Columbine – even a recluse hears the bad news.

I’m sure he’d have some choice words for Stephenie Meyer and JK Rowling who have turned two generations of teenagers in fans of wizards and vampires.

Of course, the first question he’d be asked is….”So J.D., what have you been doing for the past 40 years?”

“A bit of this and bit of that,” he might say. “It’s amazing how time flies.”

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Richard Davies

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