Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dream Catcher: A Review

If you really want to know about this book, the first thing you'll probably want to know is whether you yourself should read it -- "and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it".
Friend -- if you do not recognize the above literary allusion -- you probably will not want to read this book. Because you really have to be into Salinger to read to the end of his daughter's memoir, Dream Catcher.
And I am. So I did.
I liked it. I really did. And here is why:
I believe that if you really want to know someone, you need to either a) speak with the person themself, or b) hear from someone who lived with them. Since J.D. Salnger never wrote an autobiography, Dream Catcher may be the closest we can get to the latter scenario. It's his daughter, speaking.
It does veer into a lot of navel-gazing sort of…. Margaretism -- but seriously now? I think the problem is hereditary! She gets it from her father!
The most idiosyncratic, egocentric person who has probably ever existed.
And one of the greatest authors ever! Go figure!
Dream Catcher is a bit more lengthy than is necessary, if you are looking for straight-up J.D. Salinger info. Because it does digress into [needless?] moments of daughter-ephemera that I am not sure anyone really cares about, but the great thing about this memoir is that you will be able to see those sides of Jerome that I honestly do not think you would see elsewhere. He was a man greatly influenced by his participation as a soldier in WWII, he was a man who carried a life-long penchant for girls decades [and half-a-century] younger than himself -- a man greatly obsessed with privacy and introspection -- and his daughter has told a great tale of all of the above.
This is the kind of guts-raw memoir that any living father, upon reading it [as he did] would immediately adjust his living testament and will long before the last chapter.
It is not an "I-really-liked-my-dad-all-the-time" story.
J.D. Salinger had a few issues.
So did his daughter.
Her argument is that a lot of hers, she lays at his doorstep.
Which, incidentally, [ipso facto] was her own doorstep. We grow up in our parent's homes, do we not?
I enjoyed it -- I tolerated the diversions into Margaretism, to get to know the man himself. 

In the end -- I believe her account.
Holden Caulfield was "well-adjusted" compared to his creator.


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