Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Review of 'The Catcher in the Rye' by J.D. Salinger

"Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger's New Yorker stories, particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme, With Love and Squalor, will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is fully of children.  the hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield.  Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.  The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story.  Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to adult voices, underground voices-- but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all.  Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure.  However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself.  The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart.  It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep."

I'm really sad that this was never assigned to me in school... I feel terribly behind!  Thank goodness for this YA Lit class I'm taking!

I can see why this is a book that teens also choose to read.  It's a very approachable book with such an interesting narrator.  In fact, that's what I enjoyed most about this book.  Holden Caulfield has such a way of speaking that I actually burst out laughing a few times!  What I really didn't like about Holden though was how skeptical he was of other people.  The descriptor that came to mind for Holden was "1940s Hipster."  I'm not sure how accurate this is, but that's what I thought the entire time.  He just seems to enjoy different things than everyone else.  And he's alone in this respect (or at least, that's how he presents it).

Another reason why I really like this book is because it shows Holden struggling with making decisions for himself.  But it's not exactly the same as YA reads today where the main character struggles with a love triangle.  No, he struggles with decisions like, "Should I stay in school?"  "What's out there for me?"  "What's the point?"  To me, these are very real things for a teen to grapple with, which makes this a wonderful read.

It's so wonderful that this book that was published as a book in 1951 can transcend time and still be applicable to the lives of others today.  Now that's a sign of a great read!

I hope that this book continues to be read in schools in the future!

Overall, this book is good if you're hoping to visit an old school read, get a good laugh, or read something refreshing (compared to current YA Lit).

I give 'The Catcher in the Rye':
Thanks for Reading!


1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite books- I read it in high school, but I think I read it on my free time... I don't remember it being assigned.


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