i know of three people who are totally obsessed with j.d. salinger:john hinckleymark david chapmangoodreads davidi know of four reasons why i (must) love this book:1) because i dont want to see a list that looks like this:ronald reaganjohn lennongoodreads brian2) because in the early 80s salinger was a huge fan of the sitcom mr. merlin which was based on the premise -- wait for it… wait for it...
-- that merlin (yeah, that merlin) is alive and well in san francisco and working as a mechanic.and it gets better: salinger became totally obsessed with elaine joyce, the lead actress from the show, and came out of hiding to track her down and date her.joyce could later be seen on just about every single game show and… well, just watch this clip:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HywZDx...(yeah, you really gotta love charles nelson reilly)i imagine salinger, lonely, smelly, the bottom of his too large t-shirt hard with encrusted sperm, top of it soft with drool… beard stubble, cat hair, spoiled milk, stale danish, waiting all week for the chance to tug at his old man penis to 23 minutes of mr.
merlin, hoarsely shouting in anger and frustration as he’s about to ejaculate and they abruptly cut away from joyce to merlin. (thank god for tivo and being able to freeze frame or slo-mo marisa tomei without having to hoarsely shout at ethan hawke and phillip seymour hoffman)so, it’s very funny, of course, but also incredibly human and poignant and tragic.
and while the tendency is to ridicule salinger for falling for a third-rate sitcom actress, it can’t help but humanize and endear him to any of us who have totally, completely, and inexplicably fallen for someone…3) because im a shameless contrarian and all you fuckers love to rag on the man.
so i really wanted to love this book. and it wasnt difficult.4) because its great. these stories are great. and they don’t even feel like stories, but like nine strange impressionist sketches. i almost feel that each story should have started and ended with an ellipse... you kind of flow from one weird, fragmented sketch to the next -- from the laughing man, which makes you feel more like a child than any story you’ve ever read, into bananafish which is loaded with more stunning and surreal imagery than should be allowed in one story, and then to Teddy’s strange world of cruise ships and fate and genius children…get in the ring, motherfuckers!