“Some game. If you get on the side where all the hot-shots are, then it’s a game, all right – I’ll admit that. But if you get on the other side, where there aren’t any hot-shots, then what’s a game about it? Nothing. No game.” – Holden Caulfield (J.D. Salinger)
Well I did it. I read a book that I vowed in my younger years never to read. Beatlemania still goes on in my heart. The maniac, Mark David Chapman, that shop and killed John Lennon was “inspired” by the book authored by J.D. Salinger. Infamously after committing the murder he sat outside the Dakota and read his copy of the book until the authorities arrived. Naturally, growing up I wanted no part of the “evil” that took one of my idols away. I grew older and more curious about two things.
- What made this book so outrageous that at one point it was on the banned books list?
- Was there something in this book that could drive someone to commit murder?
So on a rainy night when I was looking for something to read, I pulled my boyfriend’s copy of the shelf.
Never have I ever been more annoyed by a protagonist in a book that I found enthralling! It was written in a way that was easy to read, and I devoured it. Holden Caulfield is a young man who is pleased by little to nothing Most people besides himself and some of his siblings are considered “phonies.” It’s not that I can’t relate. In my teenage years I too had a sense of superiority for what I felt was me having more culture than my peer. Nonetheless, a person with this quality still gets under my skin. I felt so alone in my feelings towards him throughout the book. All of the qualities that he saw wrong in other people, I saw in him. Towards the tail in of the book, finally his little sister tells him off. Honestly, it was a quaint coming of age tale about growing up and finding your place in the world.
After finishing the book a few nights after I started; I could see how it ended up on the banned books list. Less for the language and more for the content. Coming from the deep south I can sympathize with the view point of some people not wanting the subject of prostitution wanting to be published. But as far as this book taking one of the greatest musicians away from us, I think that a mad man twisted Holden’s hate of the phonies to his own immaturity and isolation. He used the book as a vehicle or catalyst to explore his own sick ideas. I hate that I allowed such a solid piece of literature to not be accessible to me in a time when it would have been more relevant.