28 Jan 2018

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Book Review / The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger

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 beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, 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.

J.D. Salinger's classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950's and 60's it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read.

Published:     First Published 1951
Publisher:  Piatkus Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source:  Library



What I loved about this story...   A very interesting read indeed.  We follow Holden at the beginning of the story being kicked out of school, looking unenthused about anything and everything apart from reading and literature.  He leaves school of his own accord and we follow him as he 'wanders' around the city getting drunk and getting into a lot of trouble.  This character intrigued me.  He just didn't seem that interested in much at all and I wondered when was he going to find something that kept his interest long enough.  It seemed as though he has not been given direction in his life or had any help from any teacher or anyone else throughout his life.  It seems such a shame as Holden seems, to me, to be a highly intelligent person. 

What I didn't like about this story...  The ending.  It just, well, ended.  There was no conclusion, we are just left to assume that maybe he cleaned up his act but maybe not.    On reflection, maybe that is not such a bad thing as it leaves the story open to the reader's interpretation...