Title: The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J.D. Salinger
Summary: Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” 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. -Goodreads
I recently picked up an itty, bitty copy of The Catcher in the Rye at my local bookstore. Along with that, I also purchased To Kill a Mockingbird (a really small copy of that, as well). I don’t know what had me so interested in this book, but I really wanted to read it. I think it’s because in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie talked about his teacher telling him to read this. I don’t know if I actually finished The Perks…
I’d heard a lot about this book, and I knew it was on the “banned books list,” but I think that’s what intrigued me even more. There were some more mature topics introduced in this book, though nothing was graphic. Language was an issue, as well. In fact, I was beginning to think it was a serving of curse words with a side of story.
Aside from that, though, it really was a good book. The storyline was very realistic, and, as Goodreads says, his observations “capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.”
To my surprise, I liked Holden, the main character. He had a very interesting thought process, and very interesting thoughts in general. I think he could have been Candor, as he was always pointing out the phonies.
I loved the writing style, as well. It was like Holden was talking to me and telling me this short little story of his journey. The dialogue was amazing, too, and sometimes I caught myself laughing (though I’m not sure I was supposed to be). The slang was great, too, like “that killed me” or “I can’t sleep so hot” or “she knocks me out.” Awesome.
I also really liked the relationships Holden had with his siblings. It seemed like he had been closest to Allie, his brother. He also seemed pretty close with Phoebe (in my head, I kept calling her Fobe), his younger sister.
I feel like Holden needs a theme song, or two. Here are some songs that I think would be his theme song:
“Isolation” by Alter Bridge
“A Beautiful Lie” by 30 Seconds To Mars
“Lithium” by Nirvana
“My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit
I told him I liked Ring Lardner and The Great Gatsby and all. I did, too. I was crazy about The Great Gatsby. Old Gatsby. Old sport. That killed me.
Loved the Gatsby reference!
What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.