Do you remember the first time?

<p>I first read <i>The Catcher in the Rye</i> when I was a teenager, when its famous red-striped cover marked it out among the many &lsquo;classics' you were supposed to read at school. It wasn't really my thing, but I am still uncomfortable with the idea that perhaps the most famous of all literary teenagers has been dug up and recreated, now 76 years old.</p>
<div>The plot mirrors the earlier title, with &quot;Mr C&quot; as he is known escaping from a retirement home rather than an elite prep school. He wanders aimlessly through New York with a seemingly endless supply of cash, buying coffees, staying in hotels and meeting characters from his past. &nbsp;</div>
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<div>Sequels of much-loved classics are always going to be tricky, even when they are authorised (the <i>Guardia</i><i>n</i>'s <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2009/may/14/catcher-in-the-rye... Evers</a> railed against the &quot;sheer brass balls&quot; of a debut author attempting to take on a classic character in this way): the official reworking of <i>Gone With The Wind,</i> Donald McCaig's <i>Rhett Butler's People,&nbsp;</i>was met with disappointment, while Alexandra Ripley's sequel <i>Scarlett </i>was hated by the critics, even if readers loved it. As with many sequels, prequels and reworkings, <i>60 Years Later</i> takes on a pastiche of the previous book's protagonist, without adding much new to it.</div>
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<div>The language is &quot;authentic&quot; in that it picks up on Caulfield's adolescent, disaffected tone, using the limited, jaded dialect the character became (in)famous for: swearing, frequent &quot;goddamns&quot;, &quot;it kills me&quot;, &quot;feeling blue&quot;, &quot;crazy&quot; &nbsp;and of course &quot;phony&quot;, his favourite criticism of adult behaviour. Even the red hunting hat turns up. It's Caulfield alright, but Caulfield at 16, surely a 76-year-old would have picked up some wisdom, a new outlook of life, even a new vocabulary? Plus the joy-and the shock, especially in the Fifties-of Caulfield's point of view is that he is a rebellious, misunderstood, thoughtful teenager and that is what people love him for. We don't want him stiff-backed and incontinent with grandchildren.</div>
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<div>In a postmodern twist, Salinger himself appears in the novel, and Mr C hears a constant &quot;tap-tap tappety-tap&quot; which may be the typewriter that's still trying to wrest control over his every move. Salinger is depicted as murderous of his creation: &quot;I should have done with him what Shelley did to her monster, so now, I will wipe my slates clean and finish what I've started. And that's the irony of it all. I worked so hard to get him to leave me alone, and now I'm the one bringing him back just so that I can kill him.&quot;</div>
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<div>JDC may have been haunted by Caulfield's unfinished story, but it seems presumptuous, in an unauthorised sequel, not only to take on Salinger's persona but to suggest that it is Salinger himself who wanted to bring him back. Perhaps he did, and JDC is a pseudonym. Even if that is the case, however unlikely, it feels like an unnecessary book.</div>
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<div>JDC is clearly a dedicated fan, and a good writer, but he should apply his writing talents to a novel-and character-of his own. Let's see what Salinger's legions of fans think.&nbsp;</div>
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