Peter Shelton

Salinger letter surfaces in Ouray

Posted in Watch columns by pshelton on February 11, 2010

I was intrigued to learn, a few days after J.D. Salinger’s death on January 27, that Mary Ann Dismant, for many years the director of the public library in Ouray, had a letter from the famously reclusive author.

Salinger wrote stories in the 1950s and 60s that deeply affected millions of readers, me included. I devoured Catcher In The Rye, of course, and clutched its irreverent teenage hero, Holden Caulfield, to my equally (or so I thought) sensitive/rebellious heart.

Holden is so funny—unintentionally most of the time—and so right on: “Take most people, they’re crazy about cars. . . I mean they don’t even interest me. I’d rather have a goddamn horse. A horse is at least human, for God’s sake.”

Or: “That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they’re not much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where you are. Girls. Jesus Christ. They can drive you crazy. They really can.” (more…)