J.D. Salinger

Sorry, Shane Salerno: ‘Salinger’ Is Just Bad Biography and Bad Documentary

Over at Esquire, Salinger director Shane Salerno issued a jeremiad against his “critics.” Like the blowhard he so clearly is, he doesn’t actually cite or quote any of them. So let me do that for him. Complaints, like my own, chiefly focused on the fact that the documentary was so self-serious it verged on self-parody, and thus revealed very little of substance about Salinger. … Read More

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Why Joyce Maynard Is Right About J.D. Salinger

Over the weekend, the New York Times ran an op-ed by the writer Joyce Maynard, she who is most famous for having lived with J.D. Salinger for a short period when she was in her late teens and he was… 53. I admit that I was on her side before even reading the first line of her editorial. I have what some might call a knee-jerk reaction to the kind of man who dates as far outside his age bracket as this. I cannot help but judge it. I actually think this is true of a lot of people, and that I am at most perhaps more honest about it than others. Other women, I mean. … Read More

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Brendan Jay Sullivan, Joyce Maynard, and the Proximity-to-Fame Memoir

As long as there will be famous people, there will be non-celebrities who have stories to tell about them. This practice is fairly popular in book form, and there’s a certain undefined genre of memoirs written by writers who happened to interact with celebrities. Two very good examples are Joyce Maynard’s At Home in the World, the much-maligned 1998 book in which Maynard revealed her relationship with reclusive novelist J. D. Salinger (she was 18, he was 53), and Brendan Jay Sullivan’s Rivington Was Ours, which concerns the author’s friendship with the up-and-coming Lady Gaga when she was a performer on the Lower East Side in 2006. The two books are excellent case studies in how such a story should — and shouldn’t — be told, as well as the particularly unfair and misogynistic way critics and readers respond to these types of books. … Read More

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J.D. Salinger Has All the Answers

J.D. Salinger was notoriously reclusive. This is one of the few totally verifiable facts about him. The dissonance between this… Read More

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10 Notorious Pop Culture Recluses

Salinger, the salacious, controversial, and come-to-find-out-maybe-not-that-good new J.D. Salinger documentary, is out today in limited release, casting a spotlight on America’s most notoriously reclusive novelist. And why, three years after his death and 60-plus years after the publication of his most enduring work, does he remain a figure of such fascination? Probably because he didn’t want to be. It’s the nature of American celebrity: once the public appetite is whetted, it can’t be satiated, and that goes double if you try to pull a disappearing act. After the jump, a look at some of the most famous — in spite of their wishes — recluses in pop culture history. … Read More

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Everything You Need To Know About the J.D. Salinger Documentary

The only clear takeaway from Salinger is that he was totally right to get the hell out of Dodge. If this is what the bright hot sun of public attention yields, this mishmash of people who sorta kinda knew him making hyperbolic claims, I sympathize with his impulse to disappear. We are all better off living in dark little farmhouses than in movies that include, I kid you not, reenactments where hunky actors bearing very little resemblance to oneself carry heavy-looking logs up hills. Every once in a while Salinger seems to display some faint trace of self-awareness about its bombast — as when it interviews one nut who went to Salinger seeking spiritual guidance and was told the truth, i.e., “I’m a fiction writer, go back to your family.” But there is something at once lurid and way too innocent about this film, and its accompanying book. … Read More

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Watch the Scary, Intense Trailer for the Weinstein Company’s “Salinger”

Documentaries aren’t exactly known for their riveting suspense, but Salinger, screenwriter Shane Salerno’s eight-years-in-the-making account of the reclusive Catcher in the Rye author, isn’t… Read More

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The Most Fascinating Quotes From J.D. Salinger’s Collected Correspondence

J.D. Salinger might have tried his best to be a reclusive author, but that has never stopped the world at large from developing an endless fascination with him — his work, his personality, the minutiae of his days. This morning, news broke of a new set of letters from the writer, recently acquired by NYC’s Morgan Library & Museum. Though these letters are not available yet to the public, plenty are, and they’re filled with the daily mundanities and sharp insights that flesh out Jerry Salinger: the man. Check out a few fascinating passages from Salinger’s varied correspondence below. … Read More

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