For Esme – With Love and squalor

Why did I read this book?

Another classic J.D. Salinger read. The man needs no introduction. And the tittle of the book is intriguing enough.

The Plot Summary

The book features on list of best short novels to read. It’s a flat 60 minutes fluid read.

The story is split into two distinct divisions with the underlying backdrop of war and of our American Sergeant X during his  military day. His serendipitous meeting with a young British teenager and the unusual 40 minutes conversation before the onset of the war forms the essence of the book. 

What are my views on the book?

You decide to pay a visit to the church hours before leaving the town permanently. You spot a fourteen-year old girl with a mellifluous voice in the choir practice. You, bump into her, post lunch in an downtown bar. What could possibly a orphaned fourteen year old girl converse with a military sergeant? What are the odds that she would after the one chance meeting, a year later, she would find his postal address and send him her deceased father’s watch? That’s the brilliance Salinger plays at. 

Aside from the plot, which appeared to be mundane, there are a few underlying themes. Post WWII, families of war affected personnels suffered from post-traumatic disorders. Perhaps, when the piece was published in 1950, people could relate to Sergeant X at an emotional level, as a hope for humanity at the proverbial level.

Perhaps, they identify with Sergeant X’s defence mechanism of building a wall, only to be shattered with the unusual gift and pave way for a grief-stricken heart

Also, ‘squalor’ also seems to have no significance. Definitely, not the best short story to be considered.

Bottomline: Can be skipped. Not a book that leaves you with something to linger on.


BookFor Esme – With Love and Squalor

Author: J.D. Salinger (Published in 1955)

Genre: Fiction, War Memoir



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