Thursday, January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger...

...died yesterday. I was given one of his books by my 7th grade History Teacher. He was the first adult I had ever met that didn't talk down to me like I was a child, and the first adult to give me anything outside of my family.

I asked him to be my "Spirit Teacher" during spirit week at school, and while other teachers gave their spirit students bags and baskets of sodas and snacks, I got a book. While totally unorthodox, I wasn't too surprised. He was always a bit quirky, but then again, so was I; especially at that age. He explained that spirit week at our school happened to land in the middle of "Banned Book Month" and that this particular book was on many banned book lists throughout the country since it came out in the 50's.

I read the book, and liked it a lot. It was a paperback copy of, The Catcher in the Rye. While all of that angst of not fully being understood, and questioning the validity of the personalities all around me hit very close, my 12 year old Latina brain couldn't help but think, "Wait a second... this kid is an upper class white boy that is able to travel freely. What the hell does he have to be bitter about."

A big part of me still thinks that about, Holden, but nevertheless, Salinger's words did have a big impact in my adolescent life. The words seemed to have met me at the crossroads between youth and young adulthood, naivete and the burden of knowledge, and conformity and self awareness. Thank you Mr. Alexander, and thank you Mr. Salinger.

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