Food for Thought-An Open Letter from Holden Caufield to Harper Lee


Route 2
Windsor, VT

Dear Ms. Lee,

I suppose this is where you want me to tell you how wonderful it is that you’ve published a new book that everyone cares about. I don’t care about you, your book (which I’m told everyone cares about) or the “don’t kill stupid birds” book. Everyone says, “care about this book because it’s culturally significant”. If I had one dime for every culturally significant thought I was supposed to have, thoughts that people like you demanded of me, I’d have less money than Tom Robinson’s widow.

Certain things should stay just the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them into glass cases and leave them alone. I said that once. Did you listen? Did anyone listen? No one paid attention. You’re like all the rest them. You’re a phony. A pretense laden phony who lives in a world of front porch sitting old men, making racism appear to be “the conflicted first draft of history” and now, after an appropriate amount of time has passed, your fragile ego is still waiting to be stroked. You’re like all the rest, a phony.

What I think is, Ms Harper Lee of Alabama somewhere USA, is you should leave nice people alone. I like it when nice people get left alone. No one ever leaves nice people alone. Why couldn’t you leave Atticus alone?

I once said that the books which really knock me out are those that, when you’re done reading them, make me wish the author was a good friend and I could call them up on the phone. Loose my number, Ms Lee. I don’t want to talk.

Yours truly,

Holden Caufield