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My Salinger Year

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Poignant, keenly observed, and irresistibly funny: a memoir about literary New York in the late nineties, a pre-digital world on the cusp of vanishing, where a young woman finds herself entangled with one of the last great figures of the century.

At twenty-three, after leaving graduate school to pursue her dreams of becoming a poet, Joanna Rakoff moves to New York City and takes a job as assistant to the storied literary agent for J. D. Salinger. She spends her days in a plush, wood-paneled office, where Dictaphones and typewriters still reign and old-time agents doze at their desks after martini lunches. At night she goes home to the tiny, threadbare Williamsburg apartment she shares with her socialist boyfriend. Precariously balanced between glamour and poverty, surrounded by titanic personalities, and struggling to trust her own artistic instinct, Rakoff is tasked with answering Salinger’s voluminous fan mail. But as she reads the candid, heart-wrenching letters from his readers around the world, she finds herself unable to type out the agency’s decades-old form response. Instead, drawn inexorably into the emotional world of Salinger’s devotees, she abandons the template and begins writing back. Over the course of the year, she finds her own voice by acting as Salinger’s, on her own dangerous and liberating terms.

Rakoff paints a vibrant portrait of a bright, hungry young woman navigating a heady and longed-for world, trying to square romantic aspirations with burgeoning self-awareness, the idea of a life with life itself. Charming and deeply moving, filled with electrifying glimpses of an American literary icon, My Salinger Year is the coming-of-age story of a talented writer. Above all, it is a testament to the universal power of books to shape our lives and awaken our true selves. 

252 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2008

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About the author

Joanna Rakoff

3 books334 followers
Joanna Rakoff's novel A Fortunate Age won the Goldberg Prize for Fiction, and was a New York Times Editors' Choice, an Elle and Booklist Best Book of 2009, and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Seller.

Her memoir, My Salinger Year, is a semifinalist in the 2014 GoodReads Choice Awards! You can vote for it here!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,355 reviews
Profile Image for Julie.
Author 6 books1,701 followers
September 14, 2014
If I had a category for Most Charming Read of the Year, there would be one entrant for 2014: My Salinger Year, Joanna Rakoff’s blithe memoir of her tenure at the Agency, the arch moniker she gives to Harold Ober Associates—one of Manhattan’s most venerable literary agencies.

I know, I know: the year still has many months and reads ahead, but I’m calling this one right now. My Salinger Year shimmers with Wilt Stillman Bright Young Things, and it's imbued with a Woody Allenesque-patina that warms the city’s brownstones until they glow with autumn light or sparkle with the diamonds of freshly-fallen snow.

The year is 1996 and Rakoff, fresh from completing a Master’s degree in English in the U.K., needs a job. She really doesn’t need a boyfriend, but she finds lover and employment in quick succession. The latter becomes her entrée into the New York literary scene. The former, a struggling novelist, informs her emotional and artistic development, and breaks her heart more times than he's worth. Which is, as it happens, not much.

Although the coming revolution of digital publishing and e-readers is a mere ten years away, the Agency doesn’t possess a single computer and has only recently acquired a photocopier. Rakoff, hired as an assistant to the Agency’s president—to whom she refers only as “my boss”—types dictation on an IBM Selectric, Dictaphone headphones planted on her head, her feet working the Dictaphone pedals beneath the desk. Correspondence is done via the postal service. There are telephones of course, but no one has voicemail. If anyone calls after hours, the office phones simply ring and ring, echoing down the dimly lit hallways lined with plush carpet.

Enter Jerry, the Agency's most celebrated client. And if the Agency's president doesn't step up her game, he might be the last client standing. Delivering a breathless scene with a comic's sense of timing, Rakoff meets another famous client, Judy Blume. Just the one time. Judy, along with a steady stream of other writers, quits the Agency to seek representation where the 21st century is acknowledged as a done deal.

Jerry is, of course, J.D. Salinger. A writer whom Joanna Rakoff, budding writer herself, has never read. Jerry, hard of hearing, reclusive, and endearing, has expressed interest in having his long short story, Hapworth 16, 1924—which first appeared in The New Yorker in 1965— published as a novel by a tiny press in Virginia. For eight months, Rakoff resists reading Salinger, certain his lionized status is hyperbole and his writing trite. But she becomes immediately fascinated by the enormous volume of fan mail the author continues to receive, thirty years after his last publication. It is her job to inform each correspondent that the Agency, per Mr. Salinger's directions, cannot forward the letter to the author or respond to any requests. When she finally does read Salinger, it is in a revelatory binge. That weekend of Salinger sets the tone for the brief time that she remains at the Agency, but it also leads her to finding her writing voice.

The interactions with J.D. Salinger and the near-farcical subplot of the reissue of Hapworth ground the story in the disappearing age of traditional publishing, when a few elite readers determined what the rest of us would be checking out from our public libraries, or purchasing from the rapidly-vanishing independent bookstores, or once-were-giants Borders and Barnes & Noble.

But at its tender heart, My Salinger Year is the coming of age tale of a young woman and writer and an ode to being young and sort-of single in New York, living in an unheated apartment in Williamsburg and taking the subway to Madison Avenue to talk in plummy, tweedy tones with other underpaid literati. It is a gloriously, unabashedly nostalgic memoir and yes, utterly charming. Rakoff's writing is breezy and self-effacing, completely in character with the twenty-three-year-old woman who recounts this seminal year. Only an accomplished and confident writer could manage to sustain that tone with authenticity. Joanna Rakoff enchants readers with an elegant memoir that reads like a curl-up-with-a-cuppa novel. She's just won a new admirer.

Profile Image for Helene Jeppesen.
685 reviews3,643 followers
November 20, 2015
I'm rating this book 5 stars well-aware that this book is not for everyone, which actually makes it a weird 5 stars for me. It is a very simple book, and I'm sure that not everyone is going to love its simplicity as much as I did. However, I always review books based on how I personally feel about them, and this one was perfection in my eyes.
This is a fictional piece of work based on facts. It's about Joanna Rakoff who, as a 24-year-old, obtains a job in New York at a literary agency. With time, she realizes that this agency covers the infamous J. D. Salinger, and with time, Rakoff gets more and more into his works and his life while she gradually learns about the publishing world and writing books.
As I said, this story is very simple. It appealed to me, nevertheless, because I'm a huge fan of The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, and this book gave me a lot of information on that book as well as on Salinger's life and personality. This information mingles with Rakoff's own life in a magical way I can't really explain, and it's based on the truth!
This book allowed for me to revisit Salinger's universe but with a different set of reading glasses. Everything is told from Rakoff's perspective, and it becomes a book both about Salinger, but also about Rakoff's own life, insecurities and her growing up.
I can't really explain it much better even though this review probably leaves much to wish for. I recommend this book to anyone who has a love for J. D. Salinger, and for those of you who have yet to read any of his works, maybe this book will inspire you to actually pick up a book of his and maybe (hopefully) cherish him as much as I do :)
Profile Image for Kim G.
239 reviews43 followers
January 9, 2015
You've read this book before. Twenty-something girl from a privileged background (with an expensive but mostly useless private school degree) heads off to the Big Bad Apple, where she struggles with performing the basic functions of her practically unpaid but oh so glamorous job, realizing that her shitty boyfriend is shitty, and ruining her fancy shoes on the cold, hard streets. As it happens, this girl got to talk to J.D. Salinger a few times, which would have been interesting if more of the book was actually about dear Jerry and less about the sandwiches Rakoff had for lunch in the mid-90s. And even the sandwiches were mostly disappointing. Sigh.
Profile Image for Edan.
Author 8 books33k followers
March 2, 2014
Vivid, precise, utterly absorbing. I was reading this as I made my son scrambled eggs this morning...I could not tear myself away. I loved the descriptions of the venerable agency's refusal to enter the digital age; I loved Joanna's vulnerability and youth; I love the descriptions of New York in the 1990s; I loved her awful, fake-Communist, arrogant boyfriend; I love imagining a boss smoking cigarettes in her large office; I love the way Salinger is at the edges of Joanna's story, and also central to it in this very sly and meaningful way. It made me want to revisit his work.
An assured, thoughtful, fun and touching read.
Profile Image for Sawsan.
1,001 reviews1,290 followers
January 28, 2022
nice and funny memoir by Joanna Rakoff
in the mid 90s, Rakoff moved to New York to pursue her dream of becoming a poet, she took a job at an old literary agency which deals with famous writers.. one of them was J. D. Salinger
Rakoff writes about her struggles to pay rent and bills by a small salary, how she spends her days in a wood paneled office where Dictaphones and Typewriters still dominate the work, and at night she returns to the tiny apartment she shares with her boyfriend.
as an assistant at the agency, one of her jobs was to reply Salinger's fan mail.. after a while she was drawn literaturely and emotionally into the world of Salinger
finally she trusted her literature instinct and found her way of being a writer
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,035 reviews570 followers
July 12, 2022
I’ve read Catcher in the Rye several times, though not for a dozen or so years. I can't actually recall that much detail about the book, though it clearly made an impact on me. When he was very young, I bought a copy for my son to read – I stowed it away, knowing it would be essential reading for him at some point. So when I spotted this book and sensed an opportunity to learn more about the famously reclusive author it was a no-brainer for me, I had to read it.

Set in 1996, it's a memoir written by a young aspiring poet as she commences work for the first time, after completing her English studies. The literary agency she’s employed by (Harold Ober Associates, though it’s not identified in the text) is an old fashioned concern which just happened to have Salinger as a client. Not only does the book track a year in the employ of this earnest and dimly lit establishment, it also documents Joanna’s relationship with her Marxist, live-in boyfriend.

There was a lot to like about this book:

- Joanna’s boss (never named but Google advises it was Phyllis Westberg) was strict, technology averse and hugely protective of her star client. It was fun to hear tales of office life and meet the various characters sharing this space.
- One of Joanna’s key tasks was to manage the flow of mail addressed to Salinger and this was one of the most interesting elements. As nothing was to be forwarded on, the task of reading the letters and in sending a profoma response became ever more taxing, culminating in rebellion as she occasionally ignored policy and sent her own personalised response. It was a classic dilemma: Salinger just didn’t want any contact with readers of his work, yet the work itself spoke to its readers in a fashion that compelled them to want to communicate with the author.
- The relationship with her boyfriend was far from perfect. I spent most of the book wishing just just ditch the guy and move on to somebody better. Actually, I found the relationship to be nicely observed.
- Above all, I just envied the every day closeness to books and to the craft of writing. The fact that access to Salinger himself was limited did not bother me too much. He was always present here, even if not physically.

There are a couple of questions I’d like to ask Joanna:

- Why did you stick with the boyfriend so long?
- How come you worked in the office and in proximity to Salinger for eight months before you took it upon yourself to break your duck and read some of his work?

But this is nitpicking, really. I enjoyed my time with this book. I’d also have happily followed Joanna as she embarked on the next chapter of her life – I wanted to know (in more detail) what happened next, why and what she felt about it.

The final recommendation – and a stated aim of Joanna’s – is that I’ve ordered a set of Salinger short stories, new to me; I have an renewed appetite to experience more of Salinger's work. I’m also planning to dust of my ancient copy of ‘Catcher’, it's time to renew my acquaintance with Holden Caulfield.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,695 reviews14.1k followers
June 7, 2014
A fun and light hearted read about Joanna, who leaves her degree program and her college boyfriend, and finds a job with a literary agent. Simply called "The Agency, this is the agency that represents Salinger. Although she expects to find herself busy reading manuscripts, she instead finds herself typing letters on a typewriter and answering phones. Although this is the mid nineties, the office, or least her boss, defies technological advances in favor of the archaic way the agency has always run. It is amusing to read how delighted they are when a copier is finally delivered and they no longer need to use carbon paper.

She also finds and moves in with a new boyfriend, a pseudo intellectual, trying to write his own novel. I call him the worm, and that is a generous label.

I enjoyed reading about the workings, behind the scenes interplay between agents and writers. Eventually Joanna is given the letters written to Salinger by fans and told to send them a form letter in reply. Joanna will soon take I upon herself to do more than that. Salinger does make a brief appearance, but most of what we learn about him are from those letters and the phone calls he makes to her boos.

A good, easy read about a young girls foray into adulthood, first job, a apartment in Williamsburg, her relationships, her successes and failures. Does she eventually rid of the worm? Well...........
Profile Image for Emily.
694 reviews2,004 followers
January 23, 2017
Much to my surprise, I loved this book. It captures what it's like to be young and directionless in New York so well. Granted, I never lived in Brooklyn with my faux-Communist boyfriend or walked in on a roommate shooting up, and I've only been to one NYC party that could have been featured on Girls - but somehow, I really connected with Joanna and was completely drawn into her story.

The best memoirs read like novels, and that's true of this book too. I loved the writing and the narrative (how you can put a year of your life into a coherent narrative is beyond me). I loved the Salinger letters and the fact that this isn't really about Salinger at all. I loved Joanna's awful apartment, Don's friends, Don's novel. The only thing I didn't love about this was the ending - it somehow seemed rushed and too compact, and . But the rest of this was so surprisingly great that it gets five stars from me. And like the Salinger ouevre, it will probably read completely differently if I read it again in a few years.
Profile Image for Xueting.
265 reviews123 followers
January 8, 2015
A love letter to literature and New York, clear and candid self-exploration, funny and moving at the same time... This memoir is really special to me. It may not be the page-turning, stay-up-all-night-to-finish story, but Joanna Rakoff's writing draws me into her world in a rare soothing way, like how cuddling up with a blanket in front of a fireplace during a New York winter would be like. Although I've never experienced either winter at home, a fireplace warmth, or even New York. But I'm pretty sure Joanna Rakoff's memoir embodies that.

"Lately, I'd been coming in earlier and earlier to bask in the cool quiet of the office. Sometimes I caught up on work. Sometimes I just sat at my desk and read, drinking coffee and slowly unpeeling a sticky bun from the ersatz Italian market in Grand Central. Sometimes I worked on poems, typing them up on my Selectric."

Anyone who knows me well knows I have been dreaming of becoming a writer since I could read my first book. A job in the literary industry, whether a publishing or an agency one like Rakoff's, sounds like the dream job for me while I practice my writing. It's so exciting and I'd get to make a lot of excellent connections. Unsurprisingly then, Rakoff's experience paints a lovely picture of such a job and I want it even more. But we both know that we want more and, definitely for her and hopefully for me, are meant for more. I love that she doesn't view her job as the job from hell - so many of such 'personal assistant office job' novels and movies like The Devil Wears Prada make it seem like these jobs can only be a nightmare, or at least, only entertaining as a nightmare. Rakoff reminds us that there's a quiet, focused rhythm in an office, establishing friendly special connections with the same few people you know well every day.

"On Bedford Avenue, other people like me - young men and women in retro office wear, heading to jobs at film production companies and graphic design firms and recording studios - were sleepily converging on the sidewalk, blinking beneath their Navy safety glasses and round schoolboy frames, messenger bags slung across their chests."

She creates a beautiful New York with its people intimately connected wordlessly, crossing paths in an almost surreal way in their daily habitual activities. Rakoff writes colourful, interesting characters too, especially her boss. I can't stand Don on countless occasions, but he's definitely portrayed uniquely and I don't sense any bitterness from Rakoff towards him in retrospect despite the way he treats her, which allows us readers to form our own impressions. And can she write some food blog or something, because this..????

"A moment later, my gyoza arrived, lightly charred, their green skins glistening with oil ... and though I knew the dumplings were too hot, I pulled one off the neat row, biting into it. Hot oil and broth spurted everywhere and my eyes watered all over again. For days afterward, the rood of my mouth prickled with pain, but for a moment I relished the burning."

(this is just one of the few I can find right now that's shorter)

Most of all, I love how she honestly explores her actions and feelings so curiously, it's like she's learning about herself at the same time we do. Sometimes when it's more subtle and mysteriously vague, I feel that she's not trying to be pretentious or smugly smart, but she's revealing all that she feels without picking at them with analysis:

"...for a moment I thought - I knew, my heart beating faster - that I was going to trip and fall down that small flight of stairs, the world around me rotating, but then I simply laid my hand on the railing, steadied myself, and continued down."

I can't end this review without talking about Salinger. Indeed I love Salinger - he's one of my favourite authors, and though I have many, he's definitely special. To me, he has a constant warm presence throughout this book, even when he's not actually mentioned. Besides his influence on Rakoff, encouraging her to be honest to herself, I feel that his mysterious quality complements the quiet and intriguing warmth that makes Rakoff's New York so attractive. Like many others have said, you don't have to LOOOOVE Salinger to like Rakoff's book. Many of the scenes concerning Salinger are so funny! I have a hard time imagining him in the way Rakoff describes him, but I probably feel that way for every single person whom I admire but have not met. I think if you do feel a connection to Salinger, you should most definitely read this book.

I hope she writes more in the future!!!
Profile Image for Maria Yankulova.
669 reviews239 followers
April 30, 2021
“Моята година със Селинджър” на Джоана Рейкоф се оказа прекрасно книжно приключение и страхотен завършек на месец Април. Следя изданията на Кръг с огромен интерес, защото харесвам заглавията, които подбират, а изработката на книжните тела - хартия, шрифт, корици - е великолепна.

Още, когато прочетох анотацията на книгата си знаех, че много ще ми хареса и се оказах права! Страхотна история, развиваща се на фона на любимият ми Ню-Йорк! За разлика от много други книги, града е описан изключително живописно със всички онези любими и познати места. Атмосферата, която изгражда Джоана Рейкоф страшно ми хареса. Има нещо бохемско в партита, на които ставаме свидетели из Бруклин, Лоуър Ийстсайд и всички редактори, агенти, автори, хора от Ню-Йоркър, с които се запознаваме. Всички млади, дипломирали се млади хора, търсещи себе си, които живеят на ръба на мизерията, докато родителите им се ширят из 300 квадратни апартамени на Пето Авеню.

Младата Джоана, току що завършила университет попада в литературната агенция на Селинджър. Оказва се асистентка на агентката му, която ревностно пази личния му живот от обществени набези и читатели. Да ви кажа късно прочетох “Спасителя в ръжта” и никак не ме беше впечатлил, но сега размислям... Главната ни героиня също не е чела Селинджър, но след като започва да отговаря на писмата от почитателите му и осъзнава колко важни са Холдън, Франи и останалите му герои за стотици хора желанието се прокрадва в нея и в даден момент тя се предава и се влюбва безвъзвратно в прозата му!

Животът описан в агенцията от края на 90те е изключително завладяващ и донякъде времето е спряло - няма компютри, а само пишещи машини и диктофони 📝📝📝 както на Селинджър му харесва...

Мога да пиша още много, но ще спра надявайки се, че съм събудила интереса в някои от вас.

“Най-лошото, което може да ви донесе изкуството е, е винаги да се чувствате, че нещо не ви достига.”

“Селинджър не беше сладникъв. Творбите му не бяха носталгични. Това не бяха вълшебни приказки за гениални деца, които се шляят по улиците на някогашния Ню-Йорк...
... Селинджър беше безмилостен, забавен и педантичен. Ужасно ми хареса. Харесах го без остатък”
Profile Image for Ami.
291 reviews279 followers
March 10, 2014
My Salinger Year is a book in the vein of The Best of Everything: a book ostensibly about publishing that is really about being young and wanting to do something larger than what's available to you--but wondering if that is the right decision to make.

Rakoff's book took me right back to my first few years working in publishing. Her descriptions of the time and place are perfect. I visited that Williamsburg apartment! I know that agent who wouldn't allow computers in the office! It all rings incredibly true and beautifully detailed.

In my descriptions of this book to friends, some worried that it really would just be a description of working with J.D. Salinger. It is anything but. Recommended for anyone who remembers what it was like to make an assistant's salary and wish for something different.
Profile Image for Krista.
1,351 reviews516 followers
August 22, 2014
The big picture of My Salinger Year is an enjoyable read: Fresh from dropping out of Grad School, Joanna Rakoff moves to NYC, falls in love with an older, Socialist wanna-be writer, and lands her first grownup job. Over the next year, Rakoff is forced to examine who she is and who she wants to be, and like all of us, makes that painful transition into adulthood. Because the year is 1996, Rakoff is also able to capture a time right on the cusp of going digital -- which was particularly momentous in the publishing industry where she worked -- and this lends her story a sheen of historical importance. All of this is good stuff.

But what annoyed me (and what might be of further historical interest to other readers) is how in the details Rakoff is a protohipster: carefully describing each vintage, thrift shop outfit (paired with the expensive Italian suede loafers her mother bought her); humblebragging about her Williamsburg apartment that had no heat or kitchen sink (but, hey, to live in this neighbourhood, who wouldn't wash dishes in the bathtub?); everyone she knows wear large, unflattering glasses and carry satchels full of notebooks and manuscripts; her boyfriend casually tosses a guayabera into a duffle bag (which I had to look up, because dumbo me, I didn't know what a Mexican four pocket wedding shirt was); and Rakoff writes about her poverty (which, with the surprise bills her Dad hands her, I don't doubt), but she constantly eats out and attends rooftop parties (where she and her friends ironically drink their parents' favourite cocktails) and keeps herself afloat in NYC. To further distance herself from the common experience, she writes:

Before I'd moved to New York, it seemed as though everyone was there, playing cockroaches in experimental plays, or making broody films at Colombia, or working at galleries, or teaching dance to the poor kids in Brownsville or to the rich kids at St. Ann's.

Yeah, that's what everyone I know was doing. But Rakoff takes a job as an assistant to a literary agent -- and she refers to them throughout only as "my boss" at "the Agency", but apparently everyone knows it's Phyllis Westberg at Harold Ober Associates -- and Rakoff spends her days listening to a Dictaphone through oversize headphones and typing out letters on a huge, humming Selectric (and how hipster is that?) Fairly quickly, Rakoff learns that J. D. Salinger -- or Jerry as they call him -- is her boss' number one client, and to her alarm, she must speak to the near deaf author on the phone (which is pretty funny), and eventually, to send off form letters to people who send him fanmail (which is pretty touching since the form letter states that Mr. Salinger requests that nothing be sent on to him). This old fashioned agency, with its leather chairs and shaded lamps, is contrasted nicely with the fluorescent lights and white cubicles of the textbook publisher where Rakoff's friend works, and even though the friend calls the agency funereal, it's easy to see the appeal it had for Rakoff -- even the people are old-fashioned, with courtly manners and ivory cigarette holders.

And as interesting as the Agency was, here's my further complaint: Rakoff, from nearly the beginning, could apparently see where the Agency needed to get with the times. She also implies that despite her boss' legendary status in the publishing industry, if Rakoff had been in charge, they wouldn't have lost Judy Blume as a client. And, incredibly, although Rakoff was a poet and an English major, she had never read any Salinger and resisted doing so until she had been at the Agency for eight months. After bingeing on his complete works over a long weekend, she declares:
Salinger was not cutesy. His work was not nostalgic. These were not fairy tales about child geniuses traipsing the streets of Old New York.

Salinger was nothing like I'd thought. Nothing.

Salinger was brutal. Brutal and funny and precise. I loved him. I loved it all.

Something about this -- as though Rakoff had discovered Salinger on behalf of all of us -- just turned me off, and here's my biggest complaint of all: as someone who actually met Salinger, as someone who intimately knew how the man valued his privacy, there's a whiff of betrayal in her memoir. Rakoff recreated here some of the most emotional fan letters that passed through her hands, told of a Salinger book deal gone sour, even described that his flannel shirt and jeans both looked pressed, his hands warm and large -- I think that these are precisely the kind of details that Salinger became a recluse to avoid disclosing. This wouldn't be a best-seller without "Salinger" in the title (even though this book isn't really about him and has plenty of merit on its own) and that feels cheap to me. Even the treatment of her boss (and the revelation of her private affairs) had a gossipy The Devil Wears Prada vibe. The ending -- thirteen years after leaving the Agency, Rakoff learns of Salinger's death -- was redemptive, however, and I was invested enough in Rakoff to be glad to hear that her own story seems to have worked out okay.
Profile Image for Jill.
1,155 reviews1,611 followers
May 22, 2014
The very first thing I did upon closing the last page of this excellent book was to go to Amazon and wish list Franny and Zooey – a book I’ve been meaning to read for years. My Salinger Year made me understand – all over again – why J.D. Salinger was such a phenomenon…”because the experience of reading a Salinger story is less than reading a short story and more like having Salinger himself whisper his accounts into your year.”

But make no mistake, this book is not about J.D. Salinger. Not really. It’s about Joanna Rakoff, but it could be about any young woman, straight out of college, naïve and wishful, striving to get in touch with what’s authentic and what’s real.

For Ms. Rakoff, that means taking a job with sub-standard pay at a literary agency called the Agency – although just a little bit of Googling reveals that the Agency is Harold Ober Associates, a venerable agency that represented J.D. Salinger. There she worked for Phyllis Westberg (referred to as “my boss”) who fiercely protected his privacy and his legend.

Young Joanna, living with her socialist would-be writer boyfriend, Don in a dumpy Wiliamsburg apartment, spends her days on her Selectric and Dictaphone…right at the time when more forward-thinking agencies have invested in computers. One of her tasks is to respond to J.D. Salinger’s many fervent fans through an Agency form letter; quickly, she abandons that practice and surreptiously begins writing her own heartfelt responses.

Eventually, it dawns on us what “My Salinger Year” really means. It’s not just a year of spent responding to the voluminous and candid fan mail…and sometimes, speaking with “Jerry” himself. It’s also understanding the ongoing significance of Salinger in her life: “To somehow find a way to live in a world that sickens her. To be her authentic self. To not be the person the world is telling her to be, the girl who must bury her intelligence…who must compromise herself in order to live.”

That’s not just a description of Franny. It’s an apt description of Joanna Rakoff. Indeed, these are sentences that can apply to each of us. This is a simply wonderful book, a book that’s custom-made for every aspiring writer, every passionate reader, and every dreamer who wants to face the world on her own terms.

Profile Image for Blair.
1,745 reviews4,171 followers
April 26, 2019
(3.5) First of all: this is a memoir. This might seem like a fairly obvious fact given that the blurb clearly says it's a memoir, but somehow, until I read the author's introduction, I remained convinced that it was at least partly a fictionalised version of reality. In a way, I was right. While it's autobiographical, it is written in a very novelistic style.

My Salinger Year is Joanna Rakoff's account of her first job in a New York publishing agency. It's 1996, and the Agency (as it is always called), with its old-fashioned offices, boozy lunches and a single computer which all the staff share, is stuck in the past in a world that's rapidly moving on. However, Joanna is caught up in the romantic appeal of the place, and it does have one big thing going for it: the Agency represents J.D. Salinger. In a year that sees Salinger engage a tiny publishing house to print a new edition of one of his lesser-known stories, Joanna is tasked with answering his extensive, emotion-filled backlog of fan mail. Writing to impassioned Salinger fans, she quickly abandons the Agency's reply-by-numbers and starts sending personal messages; this act proves to be a kind of catalyst for a further examination of her situation in life, friendships (and the differences between her and those friends), relationship with a rather distant lover, and career ambitions. All in all, this is a coming-of-age story, albeit an unusually literary one.

When I first read the bit about the letters, I half-expected this to be a cutesy epistolary story in which Joanna would 'find herself' through her correspondence with the Salinger fans, or fall in love with one of them, or whatever. In fact, the letters don't figure as much as the blurb would have you believe, and neither does Salinger, actually. This is more a snapshot of one year in someone's life, a year which in many ways is quite unremarkable, but - like all the best memoirs - it is written like a piece of fiction, with evocative descriptions and sparkling characterisation. It's also interesting as a portrayal of life during a transitionary period for the publishing trade; Joanna starts her career at a time when the industry is on the cusp of being radically changed by the advent of the internet and various other technological advancements. (While it's amusing, now, to imagine a whole office sharing one primitive PC, I found it equally strange when one of Joanna's friends was described as working in a 'paperless office' - in 1996! We didn't even have a computer in our house until several years after that.)

This being a record of things that happened in real life, it can occasionally lack the dramatic resolutions a fiction-accustomed reader might crave. I longed for Joanna to end her relationship with the increasingly horrible Don - to actually confront him about his cheating and sexist opinions, to stop supporting his attempts to get published - and although she did eventually get rid of him, it was anticlimactic and didn't feel at all like he got what he really deserved. Certain details bothered me a bit - why were Joanna's boss and ex-boyfriend always 'my boss' and 'my college boyfriend' while all the other characters had names (some of which, she says at the beginning, have been changed from their real ones)? Couldn't she have just invented names for them as well? But I have no bigger complaints, and the style remained consistently enjoyable throughout.

My Salinger Year is a little bit frothy, and I couldn't shake the feeling that I was reading a novel as opposed to an autobiographical work - not necessarily a bad thing, depends on how you look at it - but it's a lot of fun, and very enjoyable and accessible for readers (like me) who don't usually go for non-fiction. Pithy and funny, it's designed to appeal to nostalgic book-lovers everywhere, and I'm sure it will.
Profile Image for Sara Nelson.
26 reviews52.2k followers
July 21, 2014
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there existed a world in which writers used typewriters, publishers and agents sent manuscripts (on paper!) via the U.S. Postal Service, and starry-eyed ambitious young people moved to New York to try their luck in the literary world. (Okay, so that last bit still holds true.) It was the late ‘90s when writer-to-be Joanna Rakoff got her first job in New York publishing as an assistant to the woman who represented the great reclusive author J.D. Salinger. In the winsome and meticulously observed My Salinger Year, Rakoff recounts her experiences as an earlier-era Lena Dunham-creation, complete with a ratty Brooklyn apartment, strident anti-establishment boyfriend, and big, big dreams. “We all have to start somewhere,” is how Rakoff begins her story of being young, gifted, and possessed of a coveted “editorial assistant” job that her parents (my parents, your parents, everyone’s parents) would call “secretary.” While it’s true that J.D. “Jerry” Salinger figures into the narrative--and rather sympathetically so--it’s a mistake to say he’s at the heart of it. Youth, adventure, hope, ambition, and a keen eye and ear are what make this book run; with it, Rakoff--author of the novel A Fortunate Age--takes her place among such illustrious coming-of-age-in-New-York writers as Sylvia Plath, Jay McInerney, and, well, maybe even J.D. Salinger.
Profile Image for Britta Böhler.
Author 8 books1,844 followers
January 18, 2016
I had such high hopes for this book, reading all the praise on goodreads, from readers whose opinion I value. But I just didnt like it. Probably because I expected something different, something less 'Sex in the City at a literay agency'. I was looking forward to reflections on Salinger's work but all I got was gossip. And lots of boyfriend-ex-boyfriend-stuff which just didnt interest me. And I felt the description of Rakoff's work at the agency was so repetitive that I was bored after a while (The Boss smoking and shouting, Hugh running, James explaining). There was no real connection to those people, at least for me.
I am also a bit conflicted whether it is ok for a former agency-employee to publish her encounters with 'Jerry' at such detail, given that Salinger was a writer who was notoriously private and didnt want to be in the public limelight. I couldnt find anything about this in the author's note, and I am interested to know what other people think about this issue. So, if you read the book (and especially if you liked it): let me know how you felt about the 'Jerry-revelations'.

Profile Image for Jessica Woodbury.
1,586 reviews1,987 followers
December 14, 2015
Oh, I am skimpy with 5 star reviews and I am not a big memoir reader. But I was so caught up in this book. For literature lovers it's a lovely and romantic look at the life of an assistant at a big literary agency whose boss represents J. D. Salinger. Even better, at the time Rakoff had never read any Salinger at all, so you get to see him through fresh eyes.

Her own life is a little lost. She has a boyfriend, Don, a socialist would-be novelist who is the kind of boyfriend you have in your early 20's who is your boyfriend because he is different and interesting and unusual and not because he treats you particularly well. She wants to be a writer, and while most people would be happy to stay in her position as an "in" to the literary world, she doesn't really know what she wants.

Rakoff's writing transports you into her life completely. I had trouble putting it down. And when she finally reads Salinger's work, I was thrilled to get to experience them fresh through her.

The letters Salinger refuses to answer alone are worth the read for any Catcher in the Rye lover.
Profile Image for britt_brooke.
1,266 reviews95 followers
August 27, 2017
“Salinger was nothing like I'd thought. Nothing. Salinger was brutal. Brutal and funny and precise."

Rakoff's writing is not earth-shattering, but enjoyable. How cool it must be to have a small piece of history with "Jerry," no matter how erratic and reclusive. This really makes me want to read Salinger again soon.
Profile Image for Morgan .
796 reviews131 followers
April 10, 2021
You know when you refer to a piece of music as ‘easy listening’? This book was ‘easy reading’ for me.

I loved it in spite of the fact that I especially wanted to box Joanna around the ears for being with and staying with the jerk Don. Why was she with him at all? Was there a psychological reason she needed to be with someone who treated her like c**p?? That really annoyed me.
Otherwise I loved that the Agency refused to come out of the dark ages. (I had to be dragged kicking and screaming away from my typewriter to use a computer, so I know the feeling.)
I loved that the Agency was dark and (to me) mysterious. I loved the weird characters who worked there.
I loved reading about how Agents and Publishing worked in those days.
I loved that Joanna wanted to answer the letters written to Salinger that he didn’t even want to see.
I loved that Joanna had never even read Salinger before she got the job at the Agency.
I loved how much Joanna identified with Salinger’s characters after she eventually read the books.
Having read Salinger in my teens I remember having similar feelings about the characters.

I loved this book.

Profile Image for Jennifer.
Author 1 book8 followers
February 3, 2014
If you've ever wondered what it's like to work in publishing, read this book. If you were young once but forgot what it's like to be overwhelmed by the force of your own dreams, read this book. If you are currently young, and you're wondering why you'd rather live inside a book than in the world, read this book. If you love J. D. Salinger or any writer to the point that you'd trust him or her to guard the lining of your soul, read this book. For, dear readers, this is an exquisite, brilliant, and supremely relatable story of all these things on their own terms: what it's like to work in publishing, to be young, to love J. D. Salinger. But combined by Rakoff's masterful hand, she's transformed these ingredients of a memoir into something much more, just as she does to the form letter she's given to reply to the piles of fan mail the elusive Jerry receives daily: it is a testament to humanity, and the ways we skirt the edges of our own emotional wells before we realize the only thing to do is to dive in.
Profile Image for Julie Ehlers.
1,112 reviews1,384 followers
September 16, 2014
There's no possible way I could've not loved this book, given its subject matter--by which I mean publishing, not Salinger. Still, even though I haven't read Salinger since I was a teenager, this book managed to bring back that feeling of being 13, looking at the first page of Catcher in the Rye and realizing I was about to read something unlike anything I'd ever read before. This memoir also made me want to reread Franny and Zooey--I was too young to really get it the first time around, and I knew it even at the time. As for My Salinger Year itself, it's a love letter to literature, and to being young and figuring out who you are, and for those reasons and many other, more subtle ones, I loved it much more than I thought I would. Probably my favorite book of the year so far.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,481 reviews29.4k followers
June 21, 2014
I read more fiction than nonfiction, but quite often when I read memoirs they tend to recount the challenges, tragedies, or dysfunction that the authors have experienced or overcome. That's one of the reasons I found Joanna Rakoff's My Salinger Year so refreshing.

In the late 1990s, Joanna takes her first "real" job post-graduate school, as the assistant to the main agent at a prestigious literary agency. For years, "the Agency" has been a lion in the literary world, represents some true legends, including "Jerry," aka J.D. Salinger. Yet the agency seems mired in the past, shunning the use of modern technology (correspondence is still typed on typewriters rather than computers), and its old school approach leaves it vulnerable. For Joanna, who dreams of becoming a poet, day after day of typing up dictated letters from her boss isn't entirely challenging, and she hopes to be given the chance to read manuscripts and perhaps someday discover the next great author.

"I did, desperately, want to be part of the Agency, more than I had wanted anything in ages, and without really understanding why—I had to relinquish some semblance of myself, my own volition and inclinations."

One of Joanna's responsibilities is to respond to the enormous number of fan letters Salinger receives daily. People of every age and walk of life write to Salinger, asking for advice, for validation, for support, and bare their hearts, telling him how much his books have meant to them. Having never read any of Salinger's books, she doesn't quite understand why people are so affected by his writing. Joanna is supposed to send a form letter explaining that Salinger doesn't want to see any of his fan mail, but she is so moved (and in some cases, perturbed) by these letters that she takes it upon herself to respond to some of them on her own.

Meanwhile, Joanna struggles with her own love life, torn between her Socialist boyfriend, an aspiring writer and boxer who doesn't quite show her the love she deserves, and her college boyfriend, whom she left without warning. She also is forced to confront financial realities after being taken care of by her parents for so long. As she waits for her literary dreams to come true, she wonders what her future holds—both within the Agency and in life.

My Salinger Year is a funny, moving account of a young woman's experience in the literary world, something you rarely get a glimpse of. It's also a tremendously well-written look at the power of books and the written word, and its ability to move and affect us. While I've never worked for a literary agency and didn't get the chance to meet J.D. Salinger, I identified with some of Joanna's struggles, which made the book fascinating and affecting.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
161 reviews24 followers
February 29, 2020
Book 7 of 2020 - My Salinger Year

My Salinger Year is actually the year 1996, and Joanna Rakoff has managed to bag a graduate job at “The Agency” - a literary agency whose most prominent clientele includes the titular JD Salinger. (I’m sure if you’re internet-savvy and care enough, it’s easy to find out The Agency’s actual name.)

It’s quickly apparent however (especially if you’ve read any of the top reviews for this book) that Salinger is only a peripheral figure here. He is a specter that symbolizes The Agency’s history and quality of clientele, who occasionally calls to request royalty statements or liaise with Joanna’s boss - but that’s it. He is not a colleague, mentor, or friend to Joanna.

The core narrative is really another NYC coming-of-age story but set in the literary landscape. Even though there’s little pretence that this narrative is directly about Salinger, the title is still
a tenuous link given the lack of Salinger’s actual presence and the fact The Agency is home to other big names (albeit they aren’t always given the same respect as Salinger). The task of answering Salinger’s avalanche of fan-mail falls to Joanna, and in many cases she can’t bring herself to send out the draft response to letters than contain such raw emotion, so she writes a bespoke reply, but again these don’t actually feature as much as is expected when you consider the title.

As someone who never caught the Catcher in the Rye adoration bug, the prospect of a literary bildungsroman from 1990s New York was the ultimate reason I checked out the book from the library:

"We were girls, of course, all of us girls, emerging from the ‘6’ train at 51st Street, all clad in variations on a theme - the neat skirt and sweater, redolent of Sylvia Plath at Smith. Years ago, as some of our parents pointed out - as my own parents endlessly pointed out - we would have been called secretaries."

An English graduate who, at present, has little literary prospects, I was hooked by the concept of something that might be simultaneously familiar and renew my inspiration. Unfortunately, this too falls short.

For me, the entire book is full of potential that never materializes. Joanna details the inner-workings of The Agency and how, with the exception of a Xerox and fax machine, they cling to the pre-digital age. Joanna works primarily on a Selectric and the office’s first computer was bought in this year - on the conditions that it was exclusively for research and came in black. There’s nothing however about the daily workings of being entry-level assistant, nor a discussion of what a literary agency does as opposed to a publisher, it’s just presumed we know, but it would have been interesting to hear this from Joanna's POV as a graduate lackey on the inside. Joanna often “sits down to do her work” but other than non-descriptive tasks of faxing and answering phone calls or answering Saligner’s fan-mail, we’re not sure what this is. She eventually works up the courage to ask if she can be a reader for another agent which proves fruitful, she’s rewarded with more trust by her own boss and a piece or two of work she rescues from the ‘slush pile’ results in one writer being circulated in literary magazines while the other is taken on at The Agency as a new client. You share Joanna's feelings of elation in knowing her eye and advocacy got someone's work published.

Just as Joanna is rounding off a year at The Agency and accumulating impressive experience (she has forwarded work successfully and during her bosses leave-of-absence she handles high-profile contracts) - she quits. ‘But you were going somewhere! You were Agency material.’ says her boss, who echoed my thoughts. Joanna declares there are things she wants to DO, and if she doesn’t do them NOW, she NEVER WILL - but we never learn what these things are.

What takes up an enormous portion of pages, is Joanna’s internalised dislike of her boyfriend and sandwiches. Pre-read, I chortled at another reviewer’s wanting to hear “less about the sandwiches Rakoff had for lunch in the mid-90s” but it is ultimately true, Joanna talks a lot about overpriced New York lunches. At the same lunches she bemoans how her fun college friend who used to write poetry is now boring and wants to get married - but consistently laments how her own pseudo-intellectual Socialist boyfriend snipes at and derides her constantly and yes, he is a dick, but Joanna takes this with little or no admonishment and although she explicitly states she sees no future with him, she does nothing. It’s like listening to your friend talk about their shitty boyfriend but they do nothing about it. This took up so many pages and the culmination was not even a satisfying break-up where Joanna knocks him of his pedestal, she simply tells him they’ve run their course in about three sentences.

Overall, for me, this book has no substance as a memoir, and it dragged on. I got that mid-read fatigue where I seriously contemplated DNF’ing it but the positive reviews from people I follow convinced me to stick it out. I’m glad their respected reviews convinced me to finish it, but I’ve got that short-changed feeling and can’t round up more than three stars.

Author 4 books245 followers
April 23, 2014
I devoured this in two sittings. The word that keeps emerging is "elegant" but that doesn't do the book justice, though it does describe both the beauty of the prose and the economy of the story-telling. Memoir, it details the year in Rakoff's life when she worked for a literary agent whose central job in life - central in many ways - was to represent JD Salinger. Rakoff, young, young, young, becomes entangled with this pursuit, fending off Salinger's fans which sometimes leads to their spewing venom at her, accepting Salinger's oddities when they happen to speak - and all the while doing what young people tend to do. Being in a bad relationship. Negotiating independence from her parents. It's a hard book to categorize, because it's many things. A remembrance of personal encounters with a man who had those with precious few people. A coming of age story. The tale of a dawning romance with literature. And a book about why books matter - and how that mattering manifests. But this review is already clutzier than this remarkably elegant book - which you should read for yourself because I honestly can't imagine any reader who won't love it.
Profile Image for Diane Challenor.
350 reviews66 followers
April 22, 2018
This is a very readable, entertaining and interesting memoir giving an intriguing window into J.D. Salinger and his work. I loved the writing style Joanna Rakoff used to share a year in her life working as an assistant at a literary agency in New York. It was very rhythmic and heart felt. I listened to the book as an audiobook; the narrator was the author; she did a really good job.

Because I edit and assist an author (J.A. Wells) publish his works, I have an interest in all the facets of publishing and writing, so I enjoyed this book on many levels. As a reader, I've never believed I would be interested in J.D. Salinger's book, Catcher in the Rye, however after reading Ms Rakoff's book, the first thing I did was get a copy of Catcher in the Rye. Five stars for Ms Rakoff's book, I loved it.
Profile Image for Iveta Stoyanova.
117 reviews42 followers
August 20, 2021
I loved this book so much more than I expected.

It's written in a beautiful way. I enjoyed being in the 90's publishing world so much and I really like how the power of literature is presented in the novel.

It is a simple, touching and lovable story and it became a favourite one.
Profile Image for primeballerina.
285 reviews61 followers
March 4, 2015
In ihrem Roman “Lieber Mr. Salinger” erzählt Joanna Rakoff davon, wie sie im Jahr 1996 nach New York kommt, mit ihrem Freund in eine Wohnung zieht, die eher die Bezeichnung “Bruchbude” verdient und vor allem wie sie ihren ersten Job in einer Literaturagentur antritt. Vollkommen ohne Erwartungen und breitere Kenntnisse fängt sie als Assistentin der Chefin der Agentur an und verbringt die meiste Zeit damit, Briefe abzutippen – auf einer Schreibmaschine, da die Agentur sich noch nicht digitalisieren möchte. 1996 kommen Computer erst in die Mode.

Das Besondere an dieser Geschichte ist aber die Tatsache, dass diese Literaturagentur den berühmten Autor J.D. Salinger vertritt. Joanna hat selbstverständlich schon von seinen Werken gehört, aber noch keines davon gelesen. Erst als sie selbst am Telefon ein wenig ins Gespräch mit dem Autor kommt und vor allem als sie seine Fanpost von zahlreichen begeisterten Lesern liest, merkt sie, wie besonders dieser Autor ist.

Genau wie Joanna erging es auch mir: als ich ihre Geschichte gelesen habe, waren mir die Werke Salingers vollkommen unbekannt. Selbstverständlich sind mir der Autor und vor allem der Titel seines bekanntesten Werkes “Der Fänger im Roggen” (“The Catcher in the Rye”) ein Begriff, aber bisher habe ich es tatsächlich noch nicht gelesen. Da besteht ohne Frage großer Nachholbedarf, dem ich nun umso mehr nachgehen möchte.

Aufgeteilt in die vier Jahreszeiten, liefert Joannas Geschichte nicht nur einen spannenden Einblick in das Leben in New York, welches alles andere als leicht ist, wenn man als Berufsanfängerin und mit nur einem Assistentenjob kaum etwas verdient. Es ist fast schon zu schade, drei viertel des mickrigen Gehalts in die Miete einer winzigen Wohnung ohne Spülbecken und Heizung zu stecken oder sich am Tag nur von Äpfeln und Kaffee zu ernähren, weil das Budget nicht mehr zulässt. Doch nebenbei bekommt man als Leser auch einen wunderbaren Einblick in die Abläufe einer Literaturagentur und das Geschehen in der Literaturwelt an sich. Knapp zwanzig Jahre befinden sich zwischen dem Erzählzeitpunkt im Roman und der heutigen Gegenwart – und doch scheinen sich viele Dinge nicht groß verändert zu haben; an anderen Stellen gibt es dafür gewaltige Unterschiede. 1996 befinden wir uns vor allem mitten im Wandel zur Digitalisierung – Computer kommen so langsam aber sicher in die Mode, in den ersten Büros werden ausschließlich E-Mails versendet, Recherchen werden zunehmend mit Hilfe des Internets – in welches man sich aber erst einwählen muss, getätigt und Briefe, Verträge, Manuskripte können mittlerweile fotokopiert werden, statt sie mehrmals mit der Schreibmaschine abzutippen. Diese Einblicke fand ich unheimlich spannend, auch wenn ich diesen Wandel schon gut selbst mitbekommen habe.

Das Spannendste aber an der gesamten Geschichte ist, wie man förmlich sieht, wie sich Joanna in der Zeit weiterentwickelt, wie sie erwachsener zu werden scheint. Die Arbeit und die vielen Erfahrungen, die sie während dieser zwölf Monate sammelt, verändern nicht nur ihr Verhalten, sondern auch ihren Charakter, ihre Denkweise. Dabei spielen immer mehr die Briefe von den Lesern Salingers und auch seine Werke selbst eine große Rolle.

Obwohl mir die Werke J.D. Salingers noch nicht bekannt waren, hat mir “Lieber Mr. Salinger” und Joannas Erzählung über ihr Jahr in der New Yorker Literaturagentur unheimlich gut gefallen. Ein Lesetipp also für alle Liebhaber des Autors und all diejenigen, die es vielleicht noch werden wollen.
Profile Image for Петър Панчев.
792 reviews122 followers
August 15, 2021
Тайнственият писател Селинджър
(Цялото ревю е тук: https://knijenpetar.wordpress.com/202...)

Може би звучи високопарно, но Селинджър обсебва, или поне така го усещам. Има го онова притеснение дали ще разбера онова, което е вложил в книгите си, макар да обичам загадъчни и неясни текстове. Но при него всичко изглежда ясно, почти прозрачно, реалистично. Дали всъщност има таен код, или просто така тече мисълта му? Истината определено е в детайлите. Затова изчетох немалко материали, слушах любопитна лекция и разгръщах неговите книги. Правят впечатление предположенията. Читателят сам трябва да намери пролуката. Всъщност прочетох изцяло само „Девет разказа“, като се опитах да прокарам собствен път в лабиринта. Трябваше ми още, за да продължа с останалите му произведения. „Моята година със Селинджър“ (Издателство „Кръг“, 2021, с превод на Ралица Кариева) идва точно навреме, за да повдигне поне малко завесата около този тайнствен автор, отказал всякаква комуникация с почитателите си. Автобиографичната книга на Джоана Рейкоф има какво да каже по въпроса и това е най-ценното в нея. Както се случва при най-невероятните истории, госпожица Рейкоф се оказва на точното място и в точното време, за да получи достъп до писателя, решил да остане пълна загадка за литературния свят. Затова тази книга я има и може да бъде прочетена от всички.
(Продължава в блога: https://knijenpetar.wordpress.com/202...)
8 reviews
September 6, 2016
I did enjoy reading this book --It's set in NYC about the time I moved to NYC the first time (give or take a five years) and I took the same train, knew the same spots, recognized the same people, same lofts, same parties, same bars. And her office environment is fascinating (smoking! dictaphones!). But there were times when I thought this book was really less about her self discovery as a young person, and more about her expelling an arsenal of evidence against her boyfriend of the time--how she had increasingly frequent realizations that he was weak, unsupportive, and inconsistent in an ideology he clung to a little too long. The tie to Salinger seemed somewhat thin and stretched, and while that is not why I read the book, it seems as though it's use as the narrative arc was forced. That being said, it's fun, and I did find myself giving her a little cheer when she accomplished something really great and brave towards the end. Something that did not involve her boyfriend, Salinger, nor her job.
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