I survived the miseries of high school by being schmartsy. It helped that my dark period in literacy (marked by Sweet Valley Kids, Twins, and Babysitter’s Club) hit me when I was 9. When I entered high school at 14, not wanting to call attention to myself, and finding most of my colleagues petty with their need for boyfriends, attention, what have you’s, I used intellectual snobbery to make up for my insecurities. I started reading “real” books as opposed to the romance novel drivel that my classmates preferred. Jessica Zafra was the main protein of my bitchery, and then there was Holden Caulfield in Catcher of the Rye. I found comfort in his criticism of “phonies”, it served as my prozac because I wasn’t psychologically damaged enough for medication.
Several years and a lit-related degree later, I figured that if ‘Catcher’ were published today, I would have dismissed it as another published blog. Still, it served its purpose, it was the one friend that I felt understood me when nobody else did. I know that other angsty, angry teenagers feel the same way.
Thanks J.D. Salinger, for being one of the few highlights of early high school. While my books and outlook on life have changed, that never will.