Friday, May 15, 2009

What Happened to Phoebe?

People always say there are no new ideas. That's especially true when sequels/prequels/redos rule the day. And sometimes I absolutely love new takes on old ideas. (The whole fairy-tale-redone genre is a favorite of mine.) But other times I wonder why people can't just leave the original alone.

I mean, do we really need a sequel to Catcher in the Rye? Apparently author John David California thinks so. He wrote 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye. Holden is in his 70s and escapes from a retirement home. About the book, California says:

"Just like the first novel, he leaves, but this time he's not at a prep school, he's at a retirement home in upstate New York. It's pretty much like the first book in that he roams around the city, inside himself and his past. He's still Holden Caulfield, and has a particular view on things. He can be tired, and he's disappointed in the goddamn world. He's older and wiser in a sense, but in another sense he doesn't have all the answers."

There are a lot of takes on famous literature. Some, like Wide Sargasso Sea, get their own acclaim. But a lot are just sad attempts at trying to understand or revisit a familiar character. Maybe California is genuine in his desire to approach Holden, but from the sound of it, it's not going to be any Catcher in the Rye. And even if it's actually a good book, I'm not sure I want to revisit Holden. I want him suspended in time, hoping that he can avoid growing up while also running headlong into adulthood.