Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review: My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff/Memoir

Hello dear Readers,

Since I started working on my new project during NaNoWriMo ( National Novel Writing Month) last November, I was determined to read as much Memoirs as I could (this is my project right now, I am writing my memoir). Have to say, I do not regret my decision because I have read amazing, inspiring and well written books which has motivated me more and more to keep working on my own book. At the same time, this experience has showed me a part of me as a reader that I did not know and is to enjoy reading in a different way and what I mean by this is not just reading because I like it or because it brings me joy but also give more appreciation to the work all these writers I have been reading put on their writing, not just thinking about me and what I am getting from them but feel happy for all they joy they must feel as well.

However, with my last reading, I could not help but have such a wonderful time and I could not stop thinking how much I was enjoying it.

Having said this, I do not pretend to change how I feel about reading or feeling different ways with each book I read. This is what Nonfiction has done to me the last months, made me realized something I did not know about myself. I will love reading for the rest of my life.

The book which I refer in this post is My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff.

Title: My Salinger Year
Author: Joanna Rakoff
Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir
Publisher: Knopf, First Edition June 3, 2014)
Language: English
Hardcover: 272 Pages

Book Description

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.

My thoughts
*I gave 5/5 stars on Goodreads

The first thing I would like to say is after I finished it, I immediately went to the Internet to see if she has written other books and she has.  This is on my TBR List already.  I knew about this book because I read the Book Page Magazine every month to look for recommendations on what to read. When I read their review I wanted to read this book so bad and I finally finish it.

Meeting J.D. Salinger changed Joanna’s life in a way that I admire. We love reading, we love writing but what an amazing experience is when what others write can change ours lives, they way we see the world, the way we read or write or in her case, something deeper, her life, once she read Salinger, something changed forever.

My Salinger Year is not about Salinger the person, is about Salinger the Writer and how his writing, his books affected other people’s life.

I always appreciate a well written book, a book where you do not get lost or confused. Joanna tells her story in a very soft and cute manner. It was really easy to understand and to keep up with the story, with the characters but most important, is a story told in a way you can relate with it. All of us, in different ways, with different circumstances, we are looking for something bigger, for something extraordinary. We all have a story to share, a story other people can relate, learn something and eventually bring a change to our lives.


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