Finally saw the much discussed Salinger documentary by Shane Salerno earlier this week.
I would highly encourage anyone who’s a fan of Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye) or has an appreciation for contemporary American lit to watch it.
The documentary shed a little light onto the “reclusive” nature of J.D. Salinger, the effects that WW2 had on him, his relationships/romantic entanglements and the self discipline he adhered to as a writer.
The film also touched on how he coped with fame… fanatics who carried out senseless acts/citing the Catcher In the Rye… it also discussed a number of works that are going to be released between the years of 2015 - 2020.
Here are some of my favorite take-aways from the movie.
Just before leaving for WW2 - Salinger had a relationship with a young lady by the name of Oona O’Neil. Prior to dating Salinger she also dated Orson Wells and then married Sir Charles Chaplin. I don’t know if there’s a documentary about her life, but I would totally watch one.
I knew that Salinger took part in WW2, but I didn’t realize that he participated in D-Day… that he witnessed concentration caps first hand and that he admitted himself for mental treatment after enduring a 260+ days of unimaginable hell.
He then followed this up with another tour of duty where he hunted down Nazis as an army detective. While on that assignment, he fell in love with a Nazi and married her.
Their marriage didn’t last long… and it’s reportedly the basis for a Novel that will be released in the near future.
A good part of the documentary is about his interest in young women… I found his break-up methods to be a lot more interesting.
Every break-up was crueler than the last. Like by orders of fucking magnitude. One of my favorite break ups… was when he was vacationing in Daytona with Maynard (who i think was 19 at the time) - she had made a comment about wanting children. Salinger, pulled a Don Draper - stuffed her hand with two 50 dollars and put her in the first cab he could find.
When he wasn’t crushing teenage hearts, he spent a great deal of time writing in a “bunker”. The documentary goes in depth about a collection of work that I’m actually pretty excited to check out.
My only complaint with the documentary was the editing. It had a production value that was a little over the top in my opinion… it felt distracting at times.
It actually reminded me a lot of the R.E.M. videos - Radio Song and World Leader Pretend (official tour video)
Anyhoo… seek it out phonies.