Though many pixels have been sacrificed documenting the differences between the current young generation versus the preceding generations, not many have been used to highlight the fact that "Catcher In The Rye" seems to have disappeared from the required reading list of younger Millennials. You'd think the generation defined by their helicopter parents would appreciate a book that skewered 'phonies' endlessly, but who knows.
I'm sure Salinger is scowling about that, somewhere in the great beyond. But we're not here to talk about that. Instead, we're going to take a look at the author's childhood home, located at 1133 Park Avenue in New York City.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Salinger's family moved to the building in 1932, just in time to enroll him in the McBurney School, a progressive private high school he would fail out of two years later. (Though, fun fact: He had told the admissions officer his interests were "dramatics and tropical fish.") This would bring him, however, to Valley Forge Military Academy, where he lead a life that seemed more in line with Max Fischer's in "Rushmore." Salinger managed the fencing team, was the literary editor of the yearbook and acted in school plays. Years later, the school would inspire the fictional Pencey Prep in "Catcher in the Rye."
But back to the home. Salinger just kept returning back to his parents' apartment: after a brief stint at NYU, after a few weeks at Ursinus College, after an attempt to learn the ham business in Europe and after a writing course at Columbia inspired him to write in the short-story format. It could be that the Park Avenue place provided a sense of comfort, but probably more importantly, plenty of things for him to rail against. He continued to use the address until 1951.
You can find out more about Salinger's private life in the new documentary, appropriately titled "Salinger," which will be released on September 6.
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