Reading Salinger Again

One of the perks of getting older - Really? There are perks to getting older? Ugh. Seriously. Really. Yeah, well, I think one of the perks of getting older is that you get to revisit places or books or movies with a new perspective. When I was young, my family made a trip or two to Houston to visit relatives. My impressions of Houston then was completely different then. All I saw was tract housing and strip malls. The highlight of the trip was an excursion one evening to a local pizza joint that boasted "Chicago Style." These days I appreciate Houston so much more. I enjoy the amazing restaurants (Have you had breakfast at Baby Barnaby’s on Fairview or brunch at Cyclone Anaya on Gray?), the great nightlife (People really do go out in Houston), and the awesome arts scene (MFA is great - and there are so many other galleries and museums to explore). Things and places I couldn’t appreciate in junior high or high school.

Books and movies are kind of like that, too. I watched and thoroughly enjoyed Funny Girl for the first time a few months ago. Had I tried to watch Omar and Babs as an adolescent, well, I would probably have fallen asleep, or used my time more productively to practice my making-out technique.

Last week I read The Catcher In The Rye again. The last time I read it I was in high school, or maybe junior high, and I was a little titillated by all the "adult" language and the "mature" situations. Of course, nowadays, such language is as pervasive as Pizza Hut commercials when you’re dieting. Have you listened to pop radio lately? The bleeps keep you from hearing the titles and (original hooks) of songs like "Sexy Bitch" by Akon, "Tonight I’m F@%$ing You" by Enrique Iglesias, and "F#@k You" by Cee-Lo. And those are just three little ditties that I hear all the time. All. The. Time. But I digress. I guess the point is that such language and situations are less distracting these days. Holden Caufield and his doings were more interesting to me. I was able to consider his teenage angst since I was not preoccupied with my own. This time I was truly impressed by Salinger’s writing. Yeah, I was before, too, but this time it was just more. The consistency in that first-person narrative was something.

Oh, here’s something else. I was reading from a used copy that I picked up at Half-Price Books. It was obvious that Andye had bought the book for an English class. There were notes in the margins and also in the flaps and lots of things were underlined and/or highlighted. I disagreed with most of her notes or simply found them irrelevant. Still, I wonder what Andye thought of the book then, and what she’d think of it now.


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