Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't put this book down......, 31 Mar 2011
This review is from: 60 Years Later (Paperback)
Beyond the author's dedication to JD Salinger, "the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life," the book's purpose is "an unauthorized fictional examination of the relationship between JD Salinger and his most famous character. It opens with Holden Caulfield's surprise at awakening now as an old man in a single room in a nursing home, Sunnyside--a home better than home (yeah, right) where nobody wants to go. You are sent here. People go there to die. But C's son told him "this is the best place, dad."

Caulfield, referred to only as "C." is distracted by a foul smell in the room, later realizing it's coming from his mouth. Caulfield's recurring dream of a punching typewriter--for weeks, is your clue that author Fredrik Colting, referred to only as "JD" (John David California) (or Salinger) knows how to write and keep you spellbound of what's coming next in the book. And this is a clue of what the returning reader can anticipate. So "C" does the only normal thing any of us would do. He escapes, walking out to freedom. On the way he stops by the front counter and looks at Anna--the only one of "them" he likes. Always polite, natural smile, and very pretty. And "C" looks at her and Anna looks at him now differently as if she can read C's mind--"her face all flushed and her eyes dark and bullet-like." The word pops into C's head, surprises him--C*nt. The beginning Chapter's italics or sometimes at the end (and the best part) make this book even more enjoyable as JD discusses "C." and JD's need to kill "C." off to end it once and for all. JD shares with the reader his aggravation with "C." and taking "C." back to old familiar places where JD brought him to life. JD laments "selling his soul to the devil for a golden goose" comparing this to the original Catcher in the Rye and JD's not being able to escape. By killing off the protagonist, "C." (Caulfield), JD plans to catch the devil by surprise.

The first encounter is with a large flat bed truck that runs up on the sidewalk and misses "C." by a hair as he steps back pushing against the wall. And JD visibly complains of C's unauthorized visit to his past--trapped in an illusion that doesn't exist. As a side note, just because JD writes about C's forays looking for a bathroom some readers link this to old age. All of us do it, all of us have to go--at sometime. JD just includes this in the narrative and, at times, embellishes it providing the reader with an opportunity to view "C." as "not me." Then in Chapter 11, another death attempt: "She has long blond hair...her eyes are large and round...a young girl drowning in her big coat." And "C." states "I feel her gaze on the side of my face...her eyes are burning my face." And she tells C. "I need to do this"....and the reader is led to believe she stabs him with a knife before running away. "C." tries desperately to find the stomach hole to stop the bleeding. But the warm wetness "C." feels is not blood. And JD laments no longer having control over "C." And then there's Chapter 14, "Mr. C! Mr. C!" And this is where it gets interesting. Here appears the first of two references to cunnilingus. "C." states "something crawls over my face from the side, a giant crab perhaps, but it couldn't be a crab because it's hairy. It's some kind of a black animal and it sits right over my face.....smelling of garlic." And JD again complains, calling this nonsense, saying it's a backdoor from other stories (author Colting aka California writes as if he is JD Salinger, himself). And she saves Mr. C from drowning (another death attempt) after Mr. C fell into the water. Note the Mr. C reference. She is Charlie, a 26yo former college student of le professeur "C." who "C." remembers as "quiet, very polite, and always submitting her papers on time." "C." tries to leave without her but she insists on walking with "C." She gets into a cab with "C." and accompanies him to his hotel room. And JD is curious. "Who is she?" JD writes. A tear appears from the corner of the 26yo former student's eye before she confesses to "C." "I was in love with you. I won't leave you," the student tells "C." making him promise he won't attempt suicide again. "If you (try to) get rid of me, I'll scream rape," the student says, "I'm not kidding. You know I'll do it." And "C." laments, "I'm being held hostage by a 26yo girl." Caulfield has a difficult go with the female student, "my face feels flushed but the hand I'm holding is even hotter. I might as well be carrying a piece of glowing hot coal." Here, the story ramps it up. Gets racy. "She presses her lips against mine, harder than I press against hers and I feel her hands clasp at the back of my suit. Caulfield confesses, "my lips are moist and taste sweet like I can't remember they've tasted before. I shower for a long time...when I come out I see her on the bed. Carefully I lay down....and in one smooth motion she slides on top of me. She locks her lips to mine...her breath moves her nose and mouth into my body." At this point, "C." notices he is completely naked and erect. And again, the return of "some sort of animal, octopus-like with long arms" that "C." can't see, only feel. "It has found me and it wanders forward: it seems to have 100 legs....the black animal is back and it's pressing down on my face; only this time it's trying to push into my mouth. And then "C." utters the 3 most terrible, terminal words in the English language....words designed to hurt and destroy: "not with you." So the 26yo girl quickly dresses and leaves, later returning with a young boy. JD wants Caulfield to crawl back into the pen he came from. And the end final sentence shows how clever the author is. BUY THIS BOOK, while it's still in print. YOU WILL ENJOY IT, as I have.

Like Catcher in the Rye, 60 Years Later is written in a subjective style from the point of view of protagonist, Holden Caulfield, now referred to only as "C." 60 Years Later also uses a stream of consciousness writing style that follows Caulfield's exact thought process. Phoebe, Stradlater, Maurice--they're all mentioned, although Phoebe enjoys more time than the rest. Swedish author, Fredrik Colting (John David California) has done a superb rendering of Caulfield now as an old man on what continues as a banned book in the US, even today. Colting states this is the last thing he ever thought possible in the US. But the US has changed. Today we have arrests, court trials, and convictions with 60 or 70 years of jail time in cases in which NO VICTIM ever testifies, because there's no victim involved. I was recently speaking with an adjunct law professor at a prestigious Eastern US law school, in one of our many phone calls, regardinig US defendants being charged, convicted, and sentenced for THOUGHT crimes--in which no one suffers injury or harm. All because religious extremists have been permitted free reign in our legal system, conjuring the notion of an American Taliban watching over us promoting fear and hate.
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