The first time I read Catcher in the Rye was in Mr. Brace's English class in '96. I think Mr. Brace LOVED that book. I mean, I can't see an English teacher not wanting to teach a book he didn't love. He strongly identified with the rebellious and apathetic infamous character. Who could blame him? Sounded like teen spirit even though Mr. Brace was over thirty.
I remember one of the multiple choice quizzes from Mr. Brace's quiz - we got quizzes about chapter summaries, vocabulary and technical forms (if any, though this usually happened when we studied passionate, putrid, permeating poetry - oh onomatopeaia!) -
1) What is a clavicle? a) a musical instrument, b) a part of a neck bone, c) a violin, d) something else.
2) What can "phonies" mean? a) fake people, b) fake boobs, c) fake teeth, d) fake attitudes, e) all of the above.
Alright, he didn't really have multiple choice selections like that (I took creative license) but they were close. It made an impression.
I tried to find out more about Mr. Salinger but found out that he was a cantankaraneous old bastard that wanted nothing to do with the world. I guess Mr. Salinger really did hate phonies in real life. I'm sure, being the sensitive old bastard that he was, he really took sensitivity to phoniness to another level; hence, the disappearing act.
But, now - Wow. Death has finally made the recluse J.D. Salinger resurface. The 91-year-old writer that brought Holden Caulfield to life has met his Maker today. His literary estate has fifteen unpublished Salinger novels locked up in a safe somewhere in his New Hampshire house. I guess the public might see a slew of hidden Caulfields in bits and pieces in the next couple of years.
Mr. Salinger, you made your mark. Now may you rest in peace.