This book isn’t for everyone, full of coloured language, brutal reality, some very depressing moments and dark humour. It’s a book quite like Marmite, you either love it or you don’t. Narrated by a 17-year-old rebel, Holden Caulfield, who is to be kicked out of another boarding school the story begins. Many of the themes explored in this book are even now quite relevant to teenagers in the twenty-first century such as; identity, uncertainty about the future and standing on your own two feet. There is also a lot of sexual references, drinking and smoking.
Even though 9/10 you want to grab Holden by the shoulders and shake him until he stops feeling so cynical towards the world, there is a much more meaningful side to this book that is massively misunderstood. A struggling teenager suffering from the death of his brother and the suicide of his classmate, who in fact in just lonely and wants someone to care. On the verge of manhood trying to find way in an adult world isn’t easy for an angry teenager. Behind the facade, and after the part where I want to shake some sense into Holden, he is just a teenager struggling to adjust, to grow up. Through this we see Holden Caulfield become unraveled.
My favorite part of the entire book:
“She was right, though. It is “If a body meet a body coming through the rye.” I didn’t know it then, though.
“I thought it was ‘If a body catch a body,’” I said. “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy.” – from The Catcher in the Rye
Why I read this book: At the point in my life where I picked up this book, everything had been leading towards it. Every other book I read mentioned it, every TV show I watched talked about it, I just had to read it.
Why I liked this book: I think the whole context behind the story is relevant, the angst filled teen struggling to adjust to an adult world, this is still relevant.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D.Salinger