Before picking up “The Catcher in the Rye” I had come across it in almost all the must read book lists I ever looked up. So the anticipation was built up. The book is a classic by J.D. Salinger and is said to represent the voice of a generation through Holden Caulfield. The story revolves around 17-year old Caulfield who has just been given the axe in yet another boarding school and how he avoids his parents for two days roaming around the streets of New York.
It could be because I read the book a few years too late or maybe I have just become really dense or am just a snob, but I fail to put myself in Holden’s shoes and feel all this angst he has against the snobbery of the world. The character is just too angry and judgemental about everything that doesn’t agree with him or is up to his whims. Why do you hate Sally Hayes so much just because she is being nice to people and likes things that are different from things you like? Why did you run away from Mr. Antolini when he gave you such a moving speech about trying to give your best even if the people around you are lousy? He describes everybody of being “phony” and “hypocritical” and “lousy” but if everybody starts not talking to people they do not like then no one would talk to anyone in this world. And clearly, he likes this Jane Gallagher, he fricking punched his friend because he pronounced her name wrong! So call her up, dude! Make the move. So, clearly, I do not agree with Holden’s world view, children’s innocence is a thing of delight and a part of it must live in us forever but we cannot just refuse to grow up, because one day we will.
Moving on, there are two things that I love about the book, the first one is the narration which is great. I totally relate to it, it’s like you are in Caulfield’s mind the entire time. Or reading entries from his journal. The author is unapologetic about his usage of language which in the prim and proper 1950s was pretty scandalous I imagine. But seriously, that is how every 17 year old talk in their mind. The other thing I love about the book is the character of Holden’s kid sister, Phoebe. That’s the character I identified with. Though she’s just 10 year old, she acts as the voice of reason for Caulfield.
Since I mostly read high-paced drama or thriller, I did not quite enjoy the book, I kept looking out for some action as I turned the pages, but it was just Caulfield’s ramblings.