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How Salinger classic caught my teenage imagination

By Jane Graham

Published 06/02/2010

I felt very sad at news of the death of the legendary JD Salinger last week.

The Catcher in the Rye set me on the path towards adulthood when I read it at 13. I never read another ‘children’s’ book again, always re-seeking those same tiny, blissful epiphanies that Catcher had supplied for me, and that feeling of having the world’s secrets revealed to me before the world meant for me to hear them.

What a joy to discover that he had also written enchanted short stories, as well as a series of beautiful ethereal novellas about the funny, fragile Glass family. So watching the insipid, sour-faced writer AL Kennedy and the mediocre middle England novelist Kate Mosse dismiss Salinger as a ‘whiny boys’ writer’ on the BBC’s Review Show was more of an affront to my eyes and ears than a Give My Head Peace DVD, and equally as painful.

Salinger’s work was as universal as Kate Mosse’s is clichéd and Kennedy’s joyless. Give me his boy’s stuff over their ladies’ literature any day.

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