I can not fail to comment on the passing of JD Salinger, arguably one of the greatest writers of the past century. Like so many others, I have been greatly influenced by his writing, although for me it was the mysterious Glass family that first captured my imagination rather than his most famous work, The Catcher in the Rye.
I remember the first time I read Franny and Zooey, my favorite of his books. I was in high school and the characters in this novel seemed to speak directly to me. Yes, I know that’s cliché, but this is an instance where the cliché is simply evidence of how powerful his writing truly was. Imagine countless people in all walks of life being able to utter the same phrase. “That book spoke directly to me.” What a gift. I didn’t know it at the time, but the revelation at the end of Franny and Zooey — that we are all the fat lady — would have a dramatic impact on the writing of my first published novel, Fat Kid Rules the World.
Thank you, JD Salinger, for creating characters who wrestled with spiritual issues and embodied the messiness of being human. Thanks for writing real dialogue at a time when this was controversial. Thanks for inspiring so many other writers and filmmakers. Thanks for putting up with the crap associated with fame long enough to tell some great stories. May you rest in peace.