The catcher in the rye

Book Review: Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

  • Plot revealed: Somewhat revealed
  • Pros: The way you can connect to the protagonist
  • Cons: Can get boring at times because it’s just about listening to some one’s constant crib.

I just finished reading this classic by JD Salinger “Catcher in the Rye”. Reading the book was like reading a 16 year old kid, Holden Caulfield’s blog, a medium through which he is venting out his angst towards life in general. The author Is Holden as in, the book is written in first person. The kid is angry, depressed, sick and tired of his monotonous life, sick of going to schools full of phony people. Phony as in fake, hypocrite, pretentious.

Holden, has been a drop out from most of the prestigious schools, the novel begins when he is about to drop out of yet another school. Spread across around 3-4 days of his life in New York, a place where he was born and brought up, the entire book is a reading of his thoughts he has during these days.

The language of the book is that of a high school going American kid extremely casual and smooth and most importantly its like a talking. When you read the book you feel as if you are listening to some on radio or something and not reading a piece of literature. Phrases like, “anyways, as I was saying”, “…if you wanna know the truth”, “man that kills me” are extremely common throughout the book. The language sort of grows over you. After reading bout 10 chapters of the book I myself started using that kinda words while I was on Gtalk. Its strange one has to read it to know it I guess.

There is ample humor in the book. Humor is bound to be coz you are looking at the world through this kid’s eyes. So when one of his teacher gives him a serious lecture on how to go about his life, how to find what is it that he wants according to the mind he has got, all he can gather from the speech is that he was being very nice trying to help me find the size of my mind. Everything that’s serious and important to us adults seems to be funny and phony to him.

There is a line in the book where Holden talks about his favorite authors and books, he says he likes reading those books the most where he feels like he can call up the author as if the author is his buddy and discuss the characters and events in the book. This book is exactly that book. As I was reading it, I felt like talking to Holden. Felt like telling, “Kid, don’t be such a pessimist, life is not all that bad. You are a beautiful person, don’t let all your negative energy ruin that beauty of yours.” I believe this is what has made the book a classic, the way you connect to the protagonist.

Holden has an opinion about everything and body. Most of the time he isn’t impressed and is sarcastic. But there are things which he likes. His sister, the nuns a the station the ducks in the lagoon. I wonder what opinion will he have for me if he happens to meet me. Would he think I am a phony or would he like me? That’s how much I could connect with the character.