"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth." -- Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye
These are the opening lines of The Catcher in the Rye. I read the book for the first time as a junior in high school, and I'll never forget hearing the first few pages of the book as our English teacher read them aloud. It totally sucked me in. It was unlike anything I'd ever read before, and unlike everything I've read since (though James Frey's A Million Little Pieces made me think of Holden).
The author, J.D. Salinger, died Wednesday after living the last five decades as a recluse in New Hampshire. He is considered to be one of the most important writers of the 20th century. I think Holden is one of the most memorable characters in literature. He says and thinks many great things in The Catcher in the Rye. I think my favorite is, "If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's late? Nobody."