Since the protagonist of my novel is a gay 18 year-old I decided early in my writing that I needed to read as much fiction as possible that would in some respects mirror my young man’s issues and struggles. I started checking out both Amazon.com and Goodreads.com for suggestions from others. The books I’ve been reading have had a young man in his late teens and/or a youngish gay man as the protagonist. What a great group of books I’ve encountered.
I felt an absolute must read was Catcher in the Rye – amazingly a book I had never read. (Am I the last person in the English-speaking language over the age of 14 to have not read this before now?) Holden Caulfield is of course the quintessential teenager suffering angst, alienation and rebellion. What a wonderful novel; I believe it was Salinger’s first. Don’t worry folks, I have no illusions that when completed my first book will be in that league. Besides being hilarious and enjoyable it was inspiring to read. I can now fully understand why it is a modern-day classic.
I’ve read that as recently as the early 80’s this was the most censored book in US public schools, ostensibly because of its vulgar language. In fact in 2009 it was one of the most challenged books according to the American Library Association. Vulgar language?? Give me a break!!! My God, network prime time TV programs, not to mention PG-13 movies and contemporary music have stronger language. Only shows I guess just how uptight and narrow-minded a large number of people are.
This is a very enjoyable and quick read and a book I would highly recommend. It is in fact I think a must-read novel for every literate person. Be sure to read or possibly re-read it.