Jerome David Salinger (January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010) was an American writer known for his novel The Catcher in the Rye.
He was raised in Manhattan and began writing short stories while in secondary school. His father urged him to learn about the meat-importing business; he went to work in Europe but was so disgusted by the slaughterhouses that he decided to embark on a different career path. He left Austria one month before it was annexed by Nazi Germany on March 12, 1938. In 1942, he began to date Oona O'Neill, daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill. He found her self-absorbed, yet he called her often and wrote her long letters. Their relationship ended when Oona began seeing Charlie Chaplin, whom she eventually married.
Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy.
You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write «Fuck you» right under your nose. Try it sometime. I think, even, if I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all, it'll say «Holden Caulfield» on it, and then what year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that it'll say «Fuck you». I'm positive, in fact.