The Catcher in the Rye depicts a few days in the life of a whiny 17-year old, Holden Caulfield, after being expelled. Again. His search for authenticity, for what’s right and what’s wrong. His views on adults and the innocence of childhood. Holden likes children because they seem to be so innocent in a corrupted world.
I’ve seen reviews that find Holden to be an annoying character and it’s easy to see why people think that but he’s a teenager who still doesn’t have that much wisdom and is looking for authenticity in people. Losing his brother Allie is what made him dislike everyone he meets.. He likes his brother too much and preserves a perfect image of him in his mind thus he finds other people to be phonies. (I think it’s easy to guess how Holden would think about social media!) His sister Phoebe is the only person he likes. That part of the book towards the end was so nice when he was watching her in the carousel. He was happy. How he wants her sister to stay that way, be as innocent as she is as a child and not to become what he believes other people are.
I first read this as a teenager and Holden is an eminently relatable character. There were several parts in the book that made me laugh out loud. I read it again in 2013. I still enjoyed it now reading it for the third time though I kinda felt sadder. It’s just that this time, I recognize Holden’s problems more than I did before. I say he’s relatable, true enough, I’ve been there, done this, done that, but I moved forward. It’s kinda sad to think that J.D. Salinger portrays the future as a depressing place to be but what’s important is we all reach a time in our lives where we realize that’s not what we want to hear or what we want to believe. So we move on more positively and I hope Holden does, too.
I still definitely enjoyed reading this again and will be rereading it once more in a couple of years. I wonder where the ducks are, though? 🙂
“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
“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. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”
“When you’re dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.”
“Certain things, they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.”
Rating : 5/5 stars