Thursday, May 5, 2016

My Salinger Year-Joanna Rakoff

My Salinger Year-Joanna Rakoff

the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 352
gender: F
nationality: USA
year: 2014
memoir

Rakoff writes of the year she worked at the agency that represented J.D. Salinger.


Delightful. I mean, Rakoff is not in a good phase of her life for this book. Plagued by debt, a terrible boyfriend, isolation, a domineering boss, and using a typewriter in the 1990s, she really doesn't know what she's doing but she knows that this is probably not it. That's the beauty of this memoir, it is so intensely relatable. She comes into the literary world full of optimism and idealism and finds herself in a world unlike what she had hoped. And Rakoff brings you into her struggles, her little attempts to lift herself out (responding to Salinger fan letters-a move that backfires), and in the end into something that is much more true to herself as a person. She sheds the crutch of a bad boyfriend, stops hiding and 'comes of age'. There is such growth and charm throughout the memoir-Rakoff strikes such a good balance between bitter, sweet, nostalgia, and detail. Her prose is eloquent and brings alive New York on the cusp of the digital age. The humor shows up in the farcical surreality of life. I was charmed and amazed by how well done the authenticity of a 23 year old's view of life was. Sustained through changes and growths, this is not going to be the last of Rakoff I read. She found her literary voice through Salinger and has clearly become an accomplished writer in her own right-a understated conclusion underlining the whole mess of that year.

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