Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger
Little, Brown and Company
Buy Froom Indigo
Description: 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.
Mini Book Review: Honestly, I expected a lot better after hearing all the praise and how many top 10 lists I have seen this book on. I kept waiting for the story to start, when I realised there wasn't actually going to be one, I settled down and enjoyed it slightly more. That being said after reading in, I can see why so many people relate to Holden. He is the perfect archetype of the lost, hopeless and confused teen on the cusp of adulthood. He is obviously suffering with depression, rambles on like my 9 yr old or someone with serious ADHD (or me after 2 beers) and has no helpful guidance from any of the adults in his life. There is some wonderful dry humour and some very wise observations of life, but it was a tough read. I like to read books to escape or to at least learn something, not the biggest fan of this type of self indulgent writing. I found that I did enjoy it more when I just read a chapter a day. That way I didn't want to just slap Holden upside the head as much. This is definitely not something you take to the beach or escape with.
I borrowed this through Interlibrary loan from Sheridan College (since our copy at Humber has been stolen). Had to read it as part of my BBC Top 100 Challenge
Note about my Reviews
Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!