When it was first published in 1998, At Home in the World set off a furor in the literary world and
beyond. Joyce Maynard’s memoir broke a silence concerning her relationship—at
age eighteen—with J. D. Salinger, the famously reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye, then age
fifty-three, who had read a story she wrote for the New York Times in her freshman year of college and sent her a
letter that changed her life. Reviewers called her book “shameless” and
“powerful” and its author was simultaneously reviled and cheered.
With what some have viewed as shocking honesty, Maynard
explores her coming of age in an alcoholic family, her mother’s dream to mold
her into a writer, her self-imposed exile from the world of her peers when she
left Yale to live with Salinger, and her struggle to reclaim her sense of self
in the crushing aftermath of his dismissal of her not long after her nineteenth
birthday. A quarter of a century later—having become a writer, survived the end
of her marriage and the deaths of her parents, and with an eighteen-year-old
daughter of her own—Maynard pays a visit to the man who broke her heart. The
story she tells—of the girl she was and the woman she became—is at once
devastating, inspiring, and triumphant. Download and start listening now!