I finished The Catcher in the Rye last week. I have been avoiding writing about it. Partially, I grew accustomed to hearing Holden Caulfield’s voice in my head. I miss him. Plus, his discomfort with human behavior felt personal enough that I don’t have words to write about it.
The whole time I was reading I was wondering when it would become obvious why this book inspired someone to shoot John Lennon. That didn’t happen. What did happen is I saw the John Lennon edition of American Masters a couple of days ago. I only caught the end. There was a recording of John, in the recording studio, saying good night to Sean. It was so personal. It made him so very human.
Yoko talked about the night that he was shot. When the Dr approached and said that John was dead, she simply couldn’t fathom that he was gone. They asked if they could release it to the press. Contrary to logic, she asked them to wait for a few minutes because that awful truth could be avoided. Hundreds of people gathered outside their building that night. They sang John’s songs all night under their apartment. Yoko said hearing them through the night was heartbreaking.
Her way of letting John go was to sit in the studio where they had just recorded. She asked the engineers to play the recordings. She said his voice surrounded her.
I never found why The Cather in the Rye inspired a man to kill. I did find the human in a rock and roll legend.