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Emoji Major No. 4: The (Character) Catcher In The Rye + Salinger’s Story

It never was “catch” a body in the rye. As little Phoebe Caulfield famously corrected Holden, it was “if a body meet a body, coming through the rye,” see:


Last week, David Shields and Shane Salerno published an unprecedented 720-page biography of J.D. Salinger, full of juicy revelations. Tomorrow, their decade-in-the-making documentary from the Weinstein Company comes out. They also announced that in 2015, posthumous Salinger works will be released according to a timeline supposedly crafted by the author.

When I heard this news I was stoked to see the film, and for new Salinger to read. But honestly, I was even more excited because, “for Chrissake,” the whole package gave me an excuse to emojify The Catcher in the Rye. Nearly everything about it, starting with the ultimate moody adolescent protagonist, lends itself perfectly to the little yellow guys.

In light of current events, I added an intro with a short pre-Catcher history of Salinger. There’s the Holden parallel chunk, where the non-fiction emoji character attends multiple schools (though sources diverge on whether or not Salinger was actually kicked out); the chapter where he goes and fights in WWII; and his return to New York, ending with him sitting down to write The Catcher in the Rye.

The first draft was a scene-by-scene replay of the entire book. But for fear of bleary eyes and that readers may wonder if I, like Holden, was writing from a booby hatch, I shortened it. The major scenes remain though–in the above slide show in three parts–as well as a few of my favorite details, like how Holden remembers that he met Jane Gallagher originally because her dog kept peeing on his lawn:


Again, limited emoji meant some were cast as multiple characters, so I included a key. Beware the mustached man. He’s four “goddamn” different people.ZM