Author: J.D. Salinger
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Blurb: (from goodreads) 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.
Me: What to say. Goodness, what to say.
I honestly was a bit scared to read this book. I had no idea what to think about it going into it, because it is so famous for being a classic, but also insanely famous for being controversial. And even having read it, I'm a bit stumped.
There is a certain quality to it, a certain beauty, that is so hard for me to put into words. The cynical, sarcastic, but so real tone of the book and Holden's character made the book almost eerily moving. There is no real objective in the book. It seems like I am just having a glimpse into Holden's everyday life, and there is no obvious resolution either. But it is really beautiful.
The teenage years are tough. And they can be over glamorized, or sometimes authors can't tell it like it is. But Catcher in the Rye managed to give me a sense of hidden meanings behind Holden's tough demeanor.
He seems like an immature teenage boy who just cusses a lot, but somewhere in the midst of all the cuss words I feel like he is genuine, and that I know him extremely well. He is so stuck in the teenage angst. Here is a boy who is intelligent, reckless, loving, crazy, and still trying to figure it out but not once does he talk about those things. You can just feel it.
Am I confused on why this book is such a classic? Yes. Am I slightly crazed by the amount of cuss words in this book? Yes. (I find it hilarious) Am I still stumped on how to put my feelings for this book into words? Yes. But am I also amazed at the delivery and the accuracy of this book? Yes.
Overall: A moving classic with amazing delivery and an interesting premise that made me think. A lot.
Have you read this book before? How did you interpret it?