Jan 29

“Catcher in the Rye,” a Killer’s Favorite Book

STsalingerWhile doing a little research on “The Catcher in the Rye,” I read an interesting lyric from an obscure indie band called Clem Snide:

And the first thing every killer reads / is Catcher in the Rye

Of course, the first name that came to my mind was Mark David Chapman, John Lennon’s killer, who was obsessed with J.D. Salinger’s only novel. But then I looked into it more and found a couple of other notorious assassin types who were big “Catcher in the Rye” fans.

After John Hinckley Dr. tried to assassinate President Reagan in 1981 — partly to impress actress Jodie Foster — police found “Catcher in the Rye” among his belongings at a nearby hotel. And Robert Bardo, who gunned down 21-year-old actress Rebecca Schaeffer, had a copy of the book on him when he showed up at Schaeffer’s place in 1989.  

Several other murderers have reportedly been inspired by the novel’s main character, Holden Caulfield. Of course, all these killers seem to forget one thing: While Caulfield was an alienated, rebellious youth, he never killed anyone.

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