In 1950, J.D. Salinger was hired by the New York City Tourist Bureau to write a jazzy and young novel about the city that never sleeps, in hopes of increasing general awareness about the city, and why it was such a great travel destination. Boy, did they spend their money wisely.
Salinger’s story centers around the character of Holden Caulfield, who is a adolescent Catcher in training. The Catchers all have their own unique super-powers, and they are dedicated to making the world a better, more livable place. They are all trained at the famed Pencey Prep. Because of his impressive Talent (a mix of adolescent angst and insightfulness), he is sent by his Headmaster to New York City, to help make the city more livable and kind.
Caulfield faces many challenges and mystical experiences, in which he discovers that he is neither an orphan, nor the bastard son of the Evil Governor. For most characters, this is the kiss of death. Having no evil father to fight or lack of parents to overcome generally means you can be a bit player, or at best, the sidekick of the hero. But Caulfield digs deep and discovers hidden reserves of sarcasm that enable him to remain the novel’s protagonist, and not get molested by an old Master of Dark English.
Little known fact: The NYC Tourist Bureau paid Salinger $12 and “all the ether he could sniff” to write the book.
Speaking of Goodreads, you can win a copy of my new book, Pirate Therapy & Other Cures, in a giveaway that ends May 15.
Add me as a friend while you’re there!