Ask any novelist about the difficulties of writing a book, and most of them will tell you about the challenges of outlining a decent plot and crafting interesting characters. It's no wonder, then, that classic novels are constantly being reinterpreted; if a book has stood the test of time, been translated into 83 languages, and broken box-office records for its silver-screen adaptations, aspiring novelists flood, en masse, to scramble onto that bandwagon. Poor Jane Austen has been adapted to the brightly-spangled Bollywood scene (Bride and Prejudice), a brain-craving crew of Regency era Zombies (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), and countless romance novels in which Elizabeth and Darcy are finally freed from the buttoned-up confines of British society. Shakespeare has been twisted into a series of fluffy teen romantic comedies, like Ten Things I Hate About You (The Taming of the Shrew), She's the Man (Twelfth Night), and Get Over It (A Midsummer Night's Dream).
Book lovers have tolerated the tendency of Hollywood and the publishing industry to enthusiastically grab the reins of any successful literary vehicle and drive it into the ground, but it would seem that some authors have had enough. Austen can't gripe about the unauthorized industry that has stemmed from her works, and Shakespeare can't complain that Kirsten Dunst starred in a movie based on his work, so it falls to writers like J. D. Salinger to carry the torch for his fellow writers.
Earlier this week, the 90-year old author filed suit against John David California, an author who planned to release an unauthorized sequel to Salinger's 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye. California's novel is titled 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, and tells the story of a 70-something character called "Mr. C" who escapes from his nursing home in Manhattan and roams the streets of New York. While this sounds remarkably like a parody, it is, regrettably, not. California reveres Salinger and his work, and earnestly believes that his tale of an aging Holden Caulfield is a tribute to both the author and his character.