Saturday, January 3, 2015

[Review] The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger
Published: 1951
Format: Paperback
Pages: 277
Source: Read for School
Rating: 4 of 5

Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists.

It begins, "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."

His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

This book is not what I expected when I dove into it. What I thought I was getting into was a whiny teenage over reaction. And while all of that is true, there is so much more to be said. Holden is not simply a boy that doesn't understand. He sees things with a deeper meaning. In many respects, he is a very emotional boy. His adventures are crazy, to say the least. But then, Holden doesn't seem to be the most stable minded person. He is angsty all across the board. Many people say they dislike his character, putting him off as complaining too much. In my opinion, it is tolerable. In fact, I even find it amusing. I would even go so far as to say that all of Holden's complaining is heartwarming, in some regards.
I would urge people to give this book a chance. I went into it expecting to dislike it and I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be the opposite.

Final Rating:
4 of 5