At Home in the World by Joyce Maynard

At Home in the World

By Joyce Maynard

  • Release Date: 2010-04-01
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4
4
From 33 Ratings
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Description

New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day
With a New Preface

When it was first published in 1998, At Home in the World set off a furor in the literary world and beyond. Joyce Maynard's memoir broke a silence concerning her relationship—at age eighteen—with J.D. Salinger, the famously reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye, then age fifty-three, who had read a story she wrote for The New York Times in her freshman year of college and sent her a letter that changed her life. Reviewers called her book "shameless" and "powerful" and its author was simultaneously reviled and cheered.

With what some have viewed as shocking honesty, Maynard explores her coming of age in an alcoholic family, her mother's dream to mold her into a writer, her self-imposed exile from the world of her peers when she left Yale to live with Salinger, and her struggle to reclaim her sense of self in the crushing aftermath of his dismissal of her not long after her nineteenth birthday. A quarter of a century later—having become a writer, survived the end of her marriage and the deaths of her parents, and with an eighteen-year-old daughter of her own—Maynard pays a visit to the man who broke her heart. The story she tells—of the girl she was and the woman she became—is at once devastating, inspiring, and triumphant.

Reviews

  • Just when you thought your family was the most dysfunctional

    3
    By fjpaprota
    I felt I should read this book primarily because I was a freshman at Yale the same year Joyce was, even though I have no recollection of ever having met her (there is no question we did not move in the same circles). Her description of the one and only year she spent in New Haven did bring back memories, which I enjoyed reliving. I also thought the book, in general, was well written. But I have to say, the book did remind me that there were an awful lot of very strange people roaming college campuses in those days, and Maynard was certainly one of them. Having become more intimately acquainted with her life and way of thinking through her book, I have to say I no longer have any desire to read any more of her work. As far as Salinger goes, I’ve never read Catcher in the Rye, and now I don’t consider that to be a bad thing. I’m sure Maynard’s picture of him is somewhat colored by her own lunacy, but anyone who believes the ‘great man’ deserves his privacy is missing the point - borderline pedophilia demands privacy, but doesn’t necessarily warrant it. Had she written the book sooner, many a parent of young girls would have slept easier in New England for it.

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