14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The Mystery Of J.D. Salinger,
This review is from: Salinger: A Biography (Paperback)
Many of those who have commented on this work find author Paul Alexander to be hostile to his subject. That's not my read of it; to me, he seems more to be puzzled and saddened by the way Salinger has chosen to live his life. It could be argued that Alexander doesn't really understand Salinger; but can anyone really claim otherwise?
With Salinger, his family and past associates unwilling to cooperate on any kind of biography, Alexander has had to make do with the rather skimpy public record the world's most famous recluse has left behind. He seems to have put together as full a life story as possible, given these limitations. The perception of hostility may come from the fact that Alexander quotes extensively from the reaction of critics to Salinger's work--and sadly, for those who love it (including this reviewer)--the majority of the critics were negative about it. And Salinger's hostility to most of those in the publishing world is well-documented.
Perhaps Alexander's most intriguing contention is that Salinger, for all his public protestations of a desire to be left alone, actually wants the attention he generates. He says it's kind of a cat-and-mouse game with the public designed to maintain interest in his works.
If you're interested in learning as much detail as you can about Salinger's childhood, education, romances, buisiness dealings, and the like, this is probably the best book we'll have for some time.--William C. Hall