You Loved the Book, Do You Want to Know the Author?

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” — J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)

If you loved Catcher, would you have wanted to ring or text J.D.Salinger? Given his reclusive life, it is a safe bet, he was not open to hearing from fans.

The operative word in the above quote is wish. Holden Caulfield fantasized about being the friend of the few authors he admired. He did not really expect to meet them or get to know them. One senses that if he did, it would be a disappointment.

Since every reader brings a different emotional background to the page, it is unlikely that the book being read is the same as the book that was written. An author who seems like a soul mate, is likely someone else all together.

Authors are more aware of this gap than readers – and are sometimes hurt by it.  Maybe Salinger was one of them.