Shane Salerno (2013)

Last Featured: March 14, 2016

Image Credits: The Weinstein Company/San Diego Historical Society

In the 1950s and 60s, The Catcher in the Rye became an essential read and revealed J. D. Salinger to be one of the more fascinating literary figures of all time. This is the first look inside his closely guarded life.

Few adolescents in the 1950’s and 1960’s emerged without experiencing The Catcher in the Rye. And, considering how much time has passed, it’s remarkable how many still read it today. The heralded tale of Holden Caulfield’s escape from prep school and his loss of innocence has long stood as an essential read. The novel’s fame revealed its elusive author, J.D. Salinger, to be one of the more fascinating literary figures in recent memory. The first definitive biography of Salinger’s life was published in 2013, three years after the writer’s death. With it came an accompanying documentary film, and they both carry an elegantly simple title: Salinger. 

Shane Salerno—the young screenwriter of Armageddon—wrote, produced and directed the documentary. Eschewing any show of objectivity, it unabashedly champions the mysterious Salinger as one of America’s literary greats. The film provides fascinating and unprecedented insights into the author’s life, making much hay out of Salinger’s peculiar lifestyle, World War II experiences, relationships with young girls, and hyper-fixation on secrecy and copyright protection. It also reveals that new Salinger works may soon be published on a timetable planned by the author himself.

It seems we may at last have answers to decades-old questions, and there’s a possibility we will get to enjoy more stories about the Glass family and Holden Caulfield. But for every answer we get concerning the hidden details of Salinger’s life, you can bet five more will take its place.