I have never read Catcher in the Rye, nor any other of the works of Salinger. Nevertheless, My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff still caught my eye. I can’t resist a memoir devoted to a year in someone’s life (see my reading of: A Year of Biblical Womanhood, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry, My Year with Eleanor, Orange Is the New Black). There’s something about that sharp focus on one season of someone’s life that intrigues me.
When Joanna Rakoff was 23 in the late 90’s, she took a job as an assistant at a New York literary agency: an agency that just happened to represent famous author J. D. Salinger. The agency resists the pull of the forthcoming 21st century, refusing to use computers or the internet and sticking to typewriters and Dictaphones. Throughout this year, Rakoff navigates the idiosyncrasies of her coworkers at the agency, as well as a relationship with an odd boyfriend. She also becomes responsible for answering Salinger’s fan mail, and her stories about these letters and her responses to them are fascinating.
Publishing,writing, Salinger, life in New York City as a young woman. These are just a few of the topics I learned more about from reading My Salinger Year. This is why I read memoir, why I read anything, to learn about what I don’t already know.
My Salinger Year, Joanna Rakoff, 5-stars, memoir