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Dream Catcher: A Memoir

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In her much-anticipated memoir, Margaret A. Salinger writes about life with her famously reclusive father, J.D. Salinger -- offering a rare look into the man and the myth, what it is like to be his daughter, and the effect of such a charismatic figure on the girls and women closest to him. With generosity and insight, Ms. Salinger has written a book that is eloquent, spel In her much-anticipated memoir, Margaret A. Salinger writes about life with her famously reclusive father, J.D. Salinger -- offering a rare look into the man and the myth, what it is like to be his daughter, and the effect of such a charismatic figure on the girls and women closest to him. With generosity and insight, Ms. Salinger has written a book that is eloquent, spellbinding, and wise, yet at the same time retains the intimacy of a novel. Her story chronicles an almost cultlike environment of extreme isolation and early neglect interwoven with times of laughter, joy, and dazzling beauty. Ms. Salinger compassionately explores the complex dynamics of family relationships. Her story is one that seeks to come to terms with the dark parts of her life that, quite literally, nearly killed her, and to pass on a life-affirming heritage to her own child. The story of being a Salinger is unique; the story of being a daughter is universal. This book appeals to anyone, J.D. Salinger fan or no, who has ever had to struggle to sort out who she really is from whom her parents dreamed she might be.


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In her much-anticipated memoir, Margaret A. Salinger writes about life with her famously reclusive father, J.D. Salinger -- offering a rare look into the man and the myth, what it is like to be his daughter, and the effect of such a charismatic figure on the girls and women closest to him. With generosity and insight, Ms. Salinger has written a book that is eloquent, spel In her much-anticipated memoir, Margaret A. Salinger writes about life with her famously reclusive father, J.D. Salinger -- offering a rare look into the man and the myth, what it is like to be his daughter, and the effect of such a charismatic figure on the girls and women closest to him. With generosity and insight, Ms. Salinger has written a book that is eloquent, spellbinding, and wise, yet at the same time retains the intimacy of a novel. Her story chronicles an almost cultlike environment of extreme isolation and early neglect interwoven with times of laughter, joy, and dazzling beauty. Ms. Salinger compassionately explores the complex dynamics of family relationships. Her story is one that seeks to come to terms with the dark parts of her life that, quite literally, nearly killed her, and to pass on a life-affirming heritage to her own child. The story of being a Salinger is unique; the story of being a daughter is universal. This book appeals to anyone, J.D. Salinger fan or no, who has ever had to struggle to sort out who she really is from whom her parents dreamed she might be.

30 review for Dream Catcher: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Velvetink

    It seems many folk complain it's not good enough on many levels. Fact is it's not a biography of J.D. Salinger. It's Margaret Salinger's autobiography, his daughter, and her first novel. Sure she uses some of his character's to illustrate her point of view, and I feel she is entitled as it seems apparent some aspects of her life have been molded into his characters. But it's essentially about how her relationship with her father (& mother)effected her. She does not attempt nor claim it to be a b It seems many folk complain it's not good enough on many levels. Fact is it's not a biography of J.D. Salinger. It's Margaret Salinger's autobiography, his daughter, and her first novel. Sure she uses some of his character's to illustrate her point of view, and I feel she is entitled as it seems apparent some aspects of her life have been molded into his characters. But it's essentially about how her relationship with her father (& mother)effected her. She does not attempt nor claim it to be a biography of her father. There is a lot left unsaid and rightly I think because she is only writing about her father in relation to herself. When Christina Crawford wrote "Mommie Dearest" about growing up as the daughter of Joan Crawford, people did not expect her book to be a full biography of Joan, nor did they expect Christina to be a brilliant actress either. I don't quite get why so many people are so down on poor Margaret Salinger. She obviously had a fairly troubled childhood, and the fact that she has managed to transcend that is admirable. She makes no claims to be a gifted writer like her father, (as many seem to want her to be going on various reviews I've read on GR) but considering that, the book has a charm as it chronicles her life and and journey to sanity. I have read many books by more talented people in the arts fields where the writing is quite dismal. Granted there were some sections that could have done with serious editing, as it lagged in the middle and the afterword (which was basically notes from another Salinger relative on their family history) could have been incorporated into the body of the work. But I suspect Margaret wanted to give that relative the credit & so it was tacked onto the end. I muse also that if her father had been an average man in the street and not the "God" Salinger - she may not have published the work. It opens up a can of worms though doesn't it, with famous people or their children airing dirty laundry in public. Yet.... but we expect it, we clamour to know every tiny detail. What was it like to have so & so as your father, to live that life? We cry. We hound the famous and their kids and when their story doesn't sit well with us we disparage them. Don't we?. Go on admit it. As the public we want all the gory details to chew over while watching their lives fall apart on tv and in the tabloids and then we call them names and spit them out. Like spoilt brats. The same name that we call them. found today 8/2/2013 1 of 20 books for $10

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    Throughout this book the author endlessly bemoans just how tough it is being J.D. Salinger's daughter, yet if she weren't his daughter, who would care about her story? Much like Joyce Maynard's whiny Salinger confessional, this book leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The one enticing bit was her father one day showing her "the vault" containing colour-coded manuscripts, with strict directions on what to publish, not publish, and destroy after his death. Throughout this book the author endlessly bemoans just how tough it is being J.D. Salinger's daughter, yet if she weren't his daughter, who would care about her story? Much like Joyce Maynard's whiny Salinger confessional, this book leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The one enticing bit was her father one day showing her "the vault" containing colour-coded manuscripts, with strict directions on what to publish, not publish, and destroy after his death.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gill

    Much of the research Margaret Salinger has done about Salinger and their family is interesting. She is a fluid writer and captures the remoteness and character of the New Hanpshire wilderness where she grew up, not far from her reclusive father. And one does gain a much clearer portrait of JD Salinger in her piece than in the two biographies I've read of the man. Of course, she has the great advantage over those biographers of having lived with him for a time and known him closely much of her li Much of the research Margaret Salinger has done about Salinger and their family is interesting. She is a fluid writer and captures the remoteness and character of the New Hanpshire wilderness where she grew up, not far from her reclusive father. And one does gain a much clearer portrait of JD Salinger in her piece than in the two biographies I've read of the man. Of course, she has the great advantage over those biographers of having lived with him for a time and known him closely much of her life. So I give this book three stars and not two. The weaknesses lie in Margaret Salinger's limited understandings of the people and happenings around her. The picture that emerges of her father is clearest when she recounts things he said and did and not often through her reflections about him. The book lacks much shape, and she makes the bad decision to summarize the last 10-20 years of their relationship in a scant couple of scenes. Salinger remains one of my favorite authors. But it's not difficult for me to separate the author from his work. I suppose that most famous literary figures are reclusive, to some degree, and many, like Salinger, are by turns, mean-spirited, eccentric, paranoid, quick to take offense, hypersensitive. Margaret Salinger offers very little info about her dad's unpublished writing of the last 45 years of his life. She does write that he was very secretive about it, did work in a studio that no one other than he had access to, and that he never stopped writing so far as she could tell. She also writes that he had many works of fiction in filing cabinets and had tagged them according to whether he wanted them published as is after he died or edited first. That gives hope to those of us who would love to read more by this unique writer.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    This was my lunch read. I began it with the full intention of completing the read. I do not give up on memoirs easily. I even had a ton of pages, that I thought were so interesting that I went mad with my highlighter. Every day at lunch, my book & I went for a walk & I read for a good almost hour. By page 270, this became a slog. Yes, her father is Jerome David. Yes, we have a lot of information about this amazingly reclusive man & his effect on young women. Yes, his books have influenced generations This was my lunch read. I began it with the full intention of completing the read. I do not give up on memoirs easily. I even had a ton of pages, that I thought were so interesting that I went mad with my highlighter. Every day at lunch, my book & I went for a walk & I read for a good almost hour. By page 270, this became a slog. Yes, her father is Jerome David. Yes, we have a lot of information about this amazingly reclusive man & his effect on young women. Yes, his books have influenced generations & we need to know more about the MAN. I know, I know, we do not really, but yet we still DO. Yes, he thought no one would ever get that deep & if they did well, he litigated a lot of this, so as to keep what was his, his, but we found out. Margaret A. Salinger, his daughter, one would think, would give us some insight. Instead, the book became a bore. She began it with a lot of historical family information, which I found to be quite informative. But then we got some Joyce Maynard, and then some Mother angst. And then details about summer camp, and birthday parties and this that & the other. Why? I finally had to realize that there is nothing in this book, that would keep my interest. I have to separate JD from this book. I think I thought I would learn something, instead I wasted quite a few lunch hours. Easy Come. Easy Go. This is a book, you may want in your JD collection, alas, for me ~ it will not be recommended. Also, full disclosure, I am reviewing a book, that I could NOT finish reading.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lindy Loo

    This book was fascinating in a lot of ways--I didn't realize, for instance, that Salinger was kind of easily sucked into "cult-like" practices. Then again, about midway through the book, I started to very very deeply hate the author (his daughter) and all her whining and boohooing and woe-is-me-ing. So much of it was interesting, but Margaret Salinger just really needs to suck it up and not be so self-pitying and melodramatic. I don't doubt that Salinger was probably a bastard sometimes as a dad This book was fascinating in a lot of ways--I didn't realize, for instance, that Salinger was kind of easily sucked into "cult-like" practices. Then again, about midway through the book, I started to very very deeply hate the author (his daughter) and all her whining and boohooing and woe-is-me-ing. So much of it was interesting, but Margaret Salinger just really needs to suck it up and not be so self-pitying and melodramatic. I don't doubt that Salinger was probably a bastard sometimes as a dad, but it's really too bad he didn't have a daughter who was a bit more resilient and who could've written a memoir that didn't feel like such a pity-party the whole goddamn time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Let's see. Total Raintree County for this girl. She is some kind of messed up over the way her daddy didn't raise her. Not that I blame her, though, even if only some of her story is true. If my father were so revered and yet such a ripe, rotten piece of humanity I too might have tried to regain my delicate balance through the arts. Just not writing. Maybe pastels. Let's see. Total Raintree County for this girl. She is some kind of messed up over the way her daddy didn't raise her. Not that I blame her, though, even if only some of her story is true. If my father were so revered and yet such a ripe, rotten piece of humanity I too might have tried to regain my delicate balance through the arts. Just not writing. Maybe pastels.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pearl

    o/m/g, where was her editor? In the edition I read, this book has 433 pages. When I was half through, I was only up to her 5th grade! When I had about 100 pages to go to finish, I had reached her 15th year. A year, by the way, when she flew to Paris for her Christmas vacation to be with her boyfriend who had already finished high school. She chastises her parents for not communicating with her more or giving her better gifts! In fairness, there's much discussion in the first couple of chapters ab o/m/g, where was her editor? In the edition I read, this book has 433 pages. When I was half through, I was only up to her 5th grade! When I had about 100 pages to go to finish, I had reached her 15th year. A year, by the way, when she flew to Paris for her Christmas vacation to be with her boyfriend who had already finished high school. She chastises her parents for not communicating with her more or giving her better gifts! In fairness, there's much discussion in the first couple of chapters about anti-Semitism in America during approximately the first half of the 20th Century and J.D. Salinger's uneasiness with being Jewish. In fact cultural sociology, philosophy, and psychology are woven throughout much of this book and evidently throughout Peggy Salinger's life - at least to-date. More intelligently, though, than the mish-mash of Christian Science and some version of Zen Buddhism and of Hinduism that seemed to be uniquely J.D.'s own or his own and that possessed by his Glass family. Of course I read "Catcher in the Rye" when I was young, although not that young. I think it was required reading in a first year college course. After that I read the short novels about the Glass family: "Raise High the Rough Beams Carpenter," "Franny & Zooey," "Seymour: An Introduction," come to mind. There may have been others but I gave up on Salinger (the father); I couldn't make sense out of his brand of Buddhism. When he died about two years ago, I thought briefly about him again so when a movie was made about his life, I watched it. It got bad reviews, but I rather liked it and got curious about his life and his work. That's why I decided to read his daughter's memoir. It's not all bad. She's clearly intelligent and a good writer. But what kind of self absorption does it take to keep and/or detail the endless small incidents of pre-school, elementary school, high school and on and on? And she footnotes enough to make you wonder if she wants this to resemble a scholarly work. She seems to have been a very sickly child and even sickly as an adult to the point of being at death's door more than once and often an occupant of hospital emergency rooms. From what she writes, it's hard to say if her sickliness was congenital, a result of emotional breakdowns, or attributable, at least in part, to her father's scorn of medical science in favor of mind-over-matter, homeopathic cures, and Christian Science beliefs. Strangely enough, though, she seems to have had an endless supply of friends who took her in (as opposed to her heartless, detached father and, perhaps, mother). I say "strangely" because she doesn't present much of a picture of herself that would attract loyal friendship. In order to shed light on her own upbringing and her father's writing, she deliberately conflates the actions of Holden Caulfield and various members of the Glass family with things her father said to her when he was "raising" her. J.D., in his daughter's telling, comes off as one of the phonies Holden Caulfield so despises. If Holden tried to catch young innocents and save them from danger, Peggy does not see her father as doing the same. Rather he wants to keep everyone (especially young girls - his daughter and his wives or live-in girlfriends) in a state of arrested development; they are not to grow up. They are never to contradict or defy him. Even if you think Peggy has a too jaundiced view of growing up a Salinger, I think she does illuminate much of J.D. Salinger's writing. Whether she found the catharsis she was seeking in writing her memoir or was able to exorcise her demons, it's hard to say. She does end on an upbeat note. Most of the book is a downer. I think she had to give up trying to be a dream catcher. But she does want to catch her own child - coming through the rye or not.

  8. 4 out of 5

    False

    I liked it, but....sigh....but. Talk about working through your issues. I wonder about "now." She wrote this before her father died. After this came out, did they ever speak again? Did he cut her (or others) out of his will and leave everything to a chipmunk? I'm very curious about her education. I remember getting into a top graduate school, with all the extras she had...and when I asked the Dean of the Graduate School about scholarships she laughed at me. So how did Ms. Margaret work it? I fe I liked it, but....sigh....but. Talk about working through your issues. I wonder about "now." She wrote this before her father died. After this came out, did they ever speak again? Did he cut her (or others) out of his will and leave everything to a chipmunk? I'm very curious about her education. I remember getting into a top graduate school, with all the extras she had...and when I asked the Dean of the Graduate School about scholarships she laughed at me. So how did Ms. Margaret work it? I feel her name had something to do with it. Sorry, Peggy. Curious too about this physical breakdown. I wish her peace for the rest of her life now that Mean Mr. Mustard is gone. I hope his wife finds peace. I hope Joyce Maynard and her maryjanes find peace. I know the destruction that such a egocentric personality can wrought. No room for love. Sad.

  9. 5 out of 5

    James Lundy

    I bought this book to learn more about one of my favorite authors, JDS, and the book starts out like a biography of the man, sure enough. It's even a bit overly scholarly at first (footnotes, analysis of Jewish life in America, etc.) and I thought it was going to turn into a tedious read... But the book changes form several times as Peggy excorcises her demons and finds new reasons to keep writing it. You might have heard some of the debate of the ethics of writing this book while her old man is I bought this book to learn more about one of my favorite authors, JDS, and the book starts out like a biography of the man, sure enough. It's even a bit overly scholarly at first (footnotes, analysis of Jewish life in America, etc.) and I thought it was going to turn into a tedious read... But the book changes form several times as Peggy excorcises her demons and finds new reasons to keep writing it. You might have heard some of the debate of the ethics of writing this book while her old man is still alive. But, ultimately this book is about Peggy Salinger and not about JD. She is a troubled, deeply scarred woman who finally makes peace with herself and her father through the writing of this book, and that cathartic process unfolds beautifully as you read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Hana

    I love this book for Margaret Salinger's courage to share it all (and live through it again!). I was reminded again that not everyone is fit to be a parent. I am not judging her parents but it is remarkable (and inspirational to read) how she lived through it all. I started reading this book keen on all the information I was going to get about her father (especially after having read his letters at the Morgan Library) but ended up admiring Margaret and reminding myself of the importance of embra I love this book for Margaret Salinger's courage to share it all (and live through it again!). I was reminded again that not everyone is fit to be a parent. I am not judging her parents but it is remarkable (and inspirational to read) how she lived through it all. I started reading this book keen on all the information I was going to get about her father (especially after having read his letters at the Morgan Library) but ended up admiring Margaret and reminding myself of the importance of embracing one's family background and past, regardless of how hard and fabulous it was. I decided I would build my family tree.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Vincent Saint-Simon

    Sirs and Madams, Peggy: You are a very talented writer. Please get off your exceptionally whiny horse and please give the man a little credit for that. Also, thanks for the book. Yours, Vincent

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sandym24

    This had the potential to be a really good memoir but in my opinion it lacked focus and had way too many footnotes. The writing was all over the place with so many tangents. It almost read like a thesis for the first 3rd of the book and seemed the author was getting her info from other biographies on Salinger when what I wanted to read was what she knew about him. There were parts that were really good and interesting but they were buried between so much rambling it was hard to get through. She This had the potential to be a really good memoir but in my opinion it lacked focus and had way too many footnotes. The writing was all over the place with so many tangents. It almost read like a thesis for the first 3rd of the book and seemed the author was getting her info from other biographies on Salinger when what I wanted to read was what she knew about him. There were parts that were really good and interesting but they were buried between so much rambling it was hard to get through. She clearly had a difficult childhood and it is no wonder she suffered so much mentally having to deal with the parents she had. She makes such a great point when she says if you love his work as an author great but don’t look to the real man to be your catcher in the rye. I’m a little bit sorry I read it as it is so disappointing to learn that the private author I admired for writing Catcher in the Rye was such a troubled soul.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    While I've been enjoying this book, it is really depressing. I need a break from the depressing memoirs! A friend mentioned this book portrayed J.D. Salinger in a pretty harsh light, and I have to agree that, yes, it certainly does. The book is well written, and seems to have a lot of thought and research behind it, but again, it seems like the same old same old. A "woe is me" tale. I'm tired of this. What happened to the memoirs that were exciting, and crafted? What happened to writers creating While I've been enjoying this book, it is really depressing. I need a break from the depressing memoirs! A friend mentioned this book portrayed J.D. Salinger in a pretty harsh light, and I have to agree that, yes, it certainly does. The book is well written, and seems to have a lot of thought and research behind it, but again, it seems like the same old same old. A "woe is me" tale. I'm tired of this. What happened to the memoirs that were exciting, and crafted? What happened to writers creating scenes from images and memory? It seems like the general idea these days is to write memoir in the vein of "this is what ACTUALLY happned. here. read my line by line account of every moment and if you need me too, I can include a list of the exact times these things occurred." Maybe this is how memoir is supposed to be, I'm no longer sure nor can I remember classroom discussion regarding it, but to me it should be the latter. I don't care about truth per se, I care about reading whatever form the writer takes to get to his/her truth of an experience or an event. Anyway, this book is far to depressing to carry on at the moment...maybe I'll pick it up around August when I'm sitting in the sunshine.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Well, one thing is for sure; JD's method of upbringing did not make the kid a great writer. But who cares? Why should poor JD be in more trouble for that than every other parent whose kid isn't Hemingway? Serves me right for reading this rather blatantly exploitative book, I guess (part of a project on writers and block, and that's my excuse done). I didn't entirely hate it or the author, but does she exaggerate! She goes on and on about Daddy's funny little ways, but as the book went on and on, Well, one thing is for sure; JD's method of upbringing did not make the kid a great writer. But who cares? Why should poor JD be in more trouble for that than every other parent whose kid isn't Hemingway? Serves me right for reading this rather blatantly exploitative book, I guess (part of a project on writers and block, and that's my excuse done). I didn't entirely hate it or the author, but does she exaggerate! She goes on and on about Daddy's funny little ways, but as the book went on and on, I began to feel Daddy might have had a point - when she says, for instance, that they hardly ever had people round, I actually thought they seemed to have a wider circle of friends than my own parents. Most people wiht jobs And young kids who live in the country are going to have a few secure friends rather than a cocktail-party sized group. As for the cults, he was only being stubbornly independent-minded in investigating for himself, but she's got a whole psychology book going here. I hope she's over it all now.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Okay, another memoir, and what is my comment? The writer was a little self absorbed. Maybe that's a requirement to write one. She actually wrote about how important being popular in school was to her. Gag. But, the book was more about the relationship Margaret had with her father J.D. Salinger. I did find her memory of living with him in a secluded environment in New Hampshire very interesting. His ideas of how life is to be lived and how much everyone is a "phony". His relationship with her mot Okay, another memoir, and what is my comment? The writer was a little self absorbed. Maybe that's a requirement to write one. She actually wrote about how important being popular in school was to her. Gag. But, the book was more about the relationship Margaret had with her father J.D. Salinger. I did find her memory of living with him in a secluded environment in New Hampshire very interesting. His ideas of how life is to be lived and how much everyone is a "phony". His relationship with her mother also was I would say mentally abusive. Also, many of the comments she attributed to him have explained for me much of what bothered me about "Catcher in the Rye" (not that I like it any better, but I understand it better.)

  16. 4 out of 5

    John

    I picked up this book because I thought it might be an interesting biography about a famous recluse. Turned out to be not so much that, it's mainly an autobiography by his daughter. There's interesting tidbits about her youth and living with a pathologically self-centered father and how she coped. If her father's admittedly novelistic autobiography is to be believed (and I think so), his daughter's real life story mirrors it in many ways, how she coped with eccentric parents and peculiar boardin I picked up this book because I thought it might be an interesting biography about a famous recluse. Turned out to be not so much that, it's mainly an autobiography by his daughter. There's interesting tidbits about her youth and living with a pathologically self-centered father and how she coped. If her father's admittedly novelistic autobiography is to be believed (and I think so), his daughter's real life story mirrors it in many ways, how she coped with eccentric parents and peculiar boarding school counselors. Throes of adolescence. Hallucinations. Bulimia. Suicide attempt. Degrees. Then, at last, stability. Yet father's snarky comments about women, and about her in particular, never ended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jovana

    A tedious, unstructured, overly-descriptive memoir that has left me too exhausted to even write a longer, properly crafted review. In short, I found the book was overly descriptive, painfully lengthy (450 pages, of which almost half were unnecessary!) and so dry that I had to skim it from time to time just so I could get through to the next chapter. Although there were quite a few parts I enjoyed reading (the author's time at camp, some of her childhood, and getting to know J.D. Salinger) those A tedious, unstructured, overly-descriptive memoir that has left me too exhausted to even write a longer, properly crafted review. In short, I found the book was overly descriptive, painfully lengthy (450 pages, of which almost half were unnecessary!) and so dry that I had to skim it from time to time just so I could get through to the next chapter. Although there were quite a few parts I enjoyed reading (the author's time at camp, some of her childhood, and getting to know J.D. Salinger) those "good" parts didn't last long - or, they were ruined by the writing itself (WHERE'S THE EDITOR?) I was really hoping that the last few chapters would redeem the book so I looked forward to seeing what the final few pages would offer... Disappointment. They offered disappointment. *yawn*

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brigitta

    I loved this book! Secondarily for the J.D. Salinger bits, although the parallels between his characters and his own history were fascinating. Foremost was the unique voice of the author and her observations that kept me hooked. One passage in particular stood out, when she recalls dressing up for a childhood plane trip and writes of missing, in our current times, the formal clothes that used to signify the importance of events. I can't even do the quote justice so I will just type it out here [ I loved this book! Secondarily for the J.D. Salinger bits, although the parallels between his characters and his own history were fascinating. Foremost was the unique voice of the author and her observations that kept me hooked. One passage in particular stood out, when she recalls dressing up for a childhood plane trip and writes of missing, in our current times, the formal clothes that used to signify the importance of events. I can't even do the quote justice so I will just type it out here [later when i get time!]

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    I believe that Margaret Salinger wrote this book partially as a "reaching out" to her famous father. I think she wanted him to understand her side of the family dynamics. Her family was extremely disfunctional and she suffered because of it. However, I found some of her memories to be so far out, they seemed to be unbelievable (for instance flashbacks while giving birth.) I also felt she seemed to talk down somewhat to her audience, as though we were not quite sophisticated enough to understand I believe that Margaret Salinger wrote this book partially as a "reaching out" to her famous father. I think she wanted him to understand her side of the family dynamics. Her family was extremely disfunctional and she suffered because of it. However, I found some of her memories to be so far out, they seemed to be unbelievable (for instance flashbacks while giving birth.) I also felt she seemed to talk down somewhat to her audience, as though we were not quite sophisticated enough to understand her life. Could just be my interpretation though, read and judge for yourself!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Frances Kuffel

    H'mm. Had Salinger not detailed every event in trips, like a badly assembled slide show, and had she tried to limit the number of major characters to a manageable group -- had she concentrated more on her parents and less on the silliness of a junior high school party gone bad -- she might have presented a self-portrait I could have more empathy with. She simply didn't do her job correctly, nor did her editors. Disappointing. H'mm. Had Salinger not detailed every event in trips, like a badly assembled slide show, and had she tried to limit the number of major characters to a manageable group -- had she concentrated more on her parents and less on the silliness of a junior high school party gone bad -- she might have presented a self-portrait I could have more empathy with. She simply didn't do her job correctly, nor did her editors. Disappointing.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marisa

    Attempt to read this book if you're trying to get yourself pissed. It's impossible to read, what with the tangents and the 2-5 footnotes per page. Margaret is a terrible writer, and whiny to top it. Easily the worst book I have ever tried to read. Attempt to read this book if you're trying to get yourself pissed. It's impossible to read, what with the tangents and the 2-5 footnotes per page. Margaret is a terrible writer, and whiny to top it. Easily the worst book I have ever tried to read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ginny

    Margaret Salinger's telling of her family life was compelling to me. She writes VERY well, and of course if Salinger was an icon to you, you'll be interested in the story of this dysfunctional family with more than a whiff of mental illness. I didn't find it really depressing though. Margaret Salinger's telling of her family life was compelling to me. She writes VERY well, and of course if Salinger was an icon to you, you'll be interested in the story of this dysfunctional family with more than a whiff of mental illness. I didn't find it really depressing though.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Niki

    From the little I've read so far I'm terrified, intrigued and relieved to realize JD Salinger is just like my father. I'm not alone! I'm extremely interested to read more about their journey in hopes of better understanding mine. From the little I've read so far I'm terrified, intrigued and relieved to realize JD Salinger is just like my father. I'm not alone! I'm extremely interested to read more about their journey in hopes of better understanding mine.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elmhogar

    Best memoir read since Just Kids , and changing the way I read J.D....!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Maybe I just don't care as much about salinger as I thought I did. Found this book dull, and Margaret seemed more than a little vindictive. Maybe I just don't care as much about salinger as I thought I did. Found this book dull, and Margaret seemed more than a little vindictive.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sull

    Odd uneven autobiography by the daughter of the infamous writer J.D. Salinger and his second wife. It starts brilliantly, as the author remembers her semi-magical childhood isolated in the deep woods of New Hampshire with her charming, seductive, moody father and her exquisite, lonely, depressed mother. As her mother goes off the rails, her father writes his iconic novels of growing up intelligent and sensitive in a world that's never good enough. This is the fairy tale section of the book, wher Odd uneven autobiography by the daughter of the infamous writer J.D. Salinger and his second wife. It starts brilliantly, as the author remembers her semi-magical childhood isolated in the deep woods of New Hampshire with her charming, seductive, moody father and her exquisite, lonely, depressed mother. As her mother goes off the rails, her father writes his iconic novels of growing up intelligent and sensitive in a world that's never good enough. This is the fairy tale section of the book, where a small heroine valiantly attempts to make sense of the beautiful, enchanted world around her, and the loving yet deeply flawed adults who rule this kingdom. That part is fascinating and well-written, but unfortunately ends far too soon, as the author reaches adolescence and is shipped off to various boarding schools, morphing into a stereotypical rebellious teen offspring of badly-behaved celebrity parents. The adult years are pretty poorly written, too, such that the book falls into two halves, with the latter half barely worth reading, except to feel sad about the whole family....

  27. 4 out of 5

    Harry Brake

    WOW. I never thought of anything behind Catcher in the Rye until this memoir. I can say that as disturbing as Holden was in Catcher in the Rye the emotions Margaret felt as the daughter of J.D. Salinger, wow. I looked up alot abut J.D. Salinger and all points to his mastery as an author that could delve into emotions that he could into characters that moved, unnerved, and disturbed readers - many authors fall short of that ability. However, it seemed he was able to do that at the sacrifice of th WOW. I never thought of anything behind Catcher in the Rye until this memoir. I can say that as disturbing as Holden was in Catcher in the Rye the emotions Margaret felt as the daughter of J.D. Salinger, wow. I looked up alot abut J.D. Salinger and all points to his mastery as an author that could delve into emotions that he could into characters that moved, unnerved, and disturbed readers - many authors fall short of that ability. However, it seemed he was able to do that at the sacrifice of things lost in his personal and family lens. It was difficult at times to get through this novel, it took me over a month to get into the swing of what could be awfully depressing and dismal situations surrounding the life he delved out, but wow. Much to learn about self and others in these pages. Not my favorite due to the years I had this book (10-12?) and never attempted, and finally picked up. This leaves much to be learned about what family means, the implications of passions on a personal and familial level, and the tolls all take on those around you.

  28. 5 out of 5

    ShaunaCook

    I thought the focus would be on family history with her father and the ties of his personality back into his work. But eventually it was a book of every stupid detail ever about the author's life. I mean, shit. Editors. EDIT THINGS. I found a lot of parts totally unnecessary and not interesting. Mind you, I read Joyce Maynard's book and really liked that. So it's not that this book wasn't solely about JD salinger...it was because I don't care about anyone's entire life story if it's going to inc I thought the focus would be on family history with her father and the ties of his personality back into his work. But eventually it was a book of every stupid detail ever about the author's life. I mean, shit. Editors. EDIT THINGS. I found a lot of parts totally unnecessary and not interesting. Mind you, I read Joyce Maynard's book and really liked that. So it's not that this book wasn't solely about JD salinger...it was because I don't care about anyone's entire life story if it's going to include every detail of their entire existence. I also felt the author was not being genuine a lot of the time. Sometimes it felt like a person trying to sound cultured and different, by latching on to others who were cultured and different. Kind of like people who visit australia and come back saying shit like "uni" instead of college, just as a reminder that THEY FUCKING WENT TO AUSTRALIA, SEE HOW CULTURED AND FREE THEY ARE?!?! Anyway, I didn't hate this novel, but I sure didn't like it either. Good start to the year 😑

  29. 4 out of 5

    John

    While this memoir gets a little bogged down at times, when all is said and done there is much to admire about the author's resilience as well as her prose. She shows us a side to her famous father that perhaps no biographer could uncover. She gives ample evidence of his pathological need for control and selfish nature that at times seems downright monstrous. Likewise, his insistence that his (second) wife and children have no relationship with her family. Later, Peggy shares an anecdote about a While this memoir gets a little bogged down at times, when all is said and done there is much to admire about the author's resilience as well as her prose. She shows us a side to her famous father that perhaps no biographer could uncover. She gives ample evidence of his pathological need for control and selfish nature that at times seems downright monstrous. Likewise, his insistence that his (second) wife and children have no relationship with her family. Later, Peggy shares an anecdote about a trip to the post office at which Mr. Salinger received a letter from his first wife who he had not heard from for nearly thirty years. He tore up the letter and threw it away, explaining "When I'm finished with someone they are dead to me." She summarizes "In his world, to be flawed is to be banished. To have a defect is to be a defector, a traitor. It is little wonder that his life is so devoid of living human beings and that his fictional world has such prominent suicides."

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joel Kearney

    This wasn't a particularly poorly written book even though the author has a few obvious manic episodes while writing and strays from the topic at hand somewhat often. On the writing alone I would give it three stars, but I gave it two because this book paints one of my favorite authors, JD Salinger, as a fucking moron and a really shitty guy. Regardless of whether or not he is a bad person, I did not need to know it. I will be unable to read another Salinger book again. I'm glad the book was wri This wasn't a particularly poorly written book even though the author has a few obvious manic episodes while writing and strays from the topic at hand somewhat often. On the writing alone I would give it three stars, but I gave it two because this book paints one of my favorite authors, JD Salinger, as a fucking moron and a really shitty guy. Regardless of whether or not he is a bad person, I did not need to know it. I will be unable to read another Salinger book again. I'm glad the book was written, the author obviously needed to get this stuff out, but I wish I had not read it.

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