Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Book Review: My Salinger Year By Joanna Rakoff

"We were girls, of course, all of us girls, emerging from the '6' train at 51st Street, all clad in variations on a theme - the neat skirt and sweater; redolent of Sylvia Plath at Smith. Years ago, as some of our parents pointed out - as my own parents endlessly pointed out - we would have been called secretaries."

At twenty-three, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moves to New York City and takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J.D. Salinger. She spends her days in the plush, wood-panelled agency, where Dictaphones and typewriters still reign and old-time agents doze at their desks after martini lunches, and at night she goes home to the tiny, threadbare Brooklyn apartment she shares with her socialist boyfriend. Precariously balanced between glamour and poverty, surrounded by titanic personalities, Joanna is given the task of answering Salinger's voluminous fan mail. But as she reads the candid, heart-wrenching letters from his readers, she finds herself unable to type out the agency's decades-old form response. Instead, she begins writing back..

When I first found out about Joanna's job at the Agency, I was like "wow" cos I would love a similar job. Typing away on an actual typewriter, being surrounded by books, getting to read manuscripts.. But the best perk of her job was probably actually getting to communicate with Salinger.

I have never read any Salinger before though, but I do know of his works. I have been meaning to read The Catcher In The Rye when I can. And if I were Joanna, I would be tempted to read all of Salinger's fan mail too. I'd probably take them to heart, and would want to reply to them too (Joanna soon found out that it was a bad idea after getting negative responses when her only intention was to help).

I really love this book, it made me understand more about Salinger, and now I'm even more curious to read all of his books. Despite all that, though, I just couldn't seem to appreciate the character called Don - Joanna's boyfriend. He is definitely the kind of guy I will never see myself with. He's just constantly negative and totally unsupportive of what his partner does. NO ONE deserves to be with someone who's only going to bring you down always.

Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 5, simply because I couldn't relate to it as a whole yet. It is a really good memoir, I suggest that all Salinger fans should pick it up.

I hope you have enjoyed this post.
Are you a Salinger fan?