Monday, July 20, 2009

Salinger and Good Housekeeping

Last week I wondered which story J.D. Salinger had published in Good Housekeeping. Literary editor Laura Mathews was kind enough to tell me: “The J.D. Salinger story is called “A Girl I Knew” and has never been reprinted. But if you have access to a good research library, you can find it in the February 1948 issue.”

The Catcher in the Rye came out in 1951, but apparently 1948 was a good year for him as (according to Wikipedia), 1948 was when he published the story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" in The New Yorker magazine. Wikipedia tells me that the story was originally titled “A Fine Day for Bananafish” [titling woes for him, too?] and that it came out to such acclaim that this is when he got the [much-envied!] contract with the New Yorker for the right of first refusal on all subsequent stories.

Here’s the text of “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” if it’s been a while since you’ve read it. And, surprisingly, here’s “A Girl I Knew,” which I found to be “For Esme, With Love and Squalor” meets The Catcher in the Rye, with flashes of brilliance and a dire outcome. Read fast…I’m sure these aren’t supposed to be online!

One last thing: According to this site (scroll down), the events in the story are based on an actual experience Salinger had, and the story was reprinted in the Best American Short Stories.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.