Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Title: The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J. D. Salinger

ISBN # 0140012486

Publisher: Penguin

First Published: 1951

220 pages

Format: Paperback

Rating: 6/10

A 16-year old American boy relates in his own words the experiences he goes through at school and after, and reveals with unusual
candour the workings of his own mind. What does a boy in his teens think and feel about his teachers, parents, friends and acquaintances?

I'm not sure I quite "got" this one, although I really did feel for the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, who seems so out-of-sorts with the world throughout the novel. I felt very sorry that he didn't seem to find any joy in anything at all and felt so cut-off from everyone and everything. That said he doesn't come across as being out-and-out rebellious; just more that he can't find anything to really care about and is mistrustful of those who want him to feel and care more than he does. The only thing he does seem to care about is other people being phony (which, along with a long list of other things, he hates), yet he seems to contradict himself a lot, indicating a certain amount of phoniness in himself.

I actually saw a lot of parallels between Holden Caulfield and characters in some other books I read years ago (Albert Scully in The Dream Watcher by Barbara Wersba, and "Marsh" Mellow in Pardon Me, You're Stepping on my Eyeball! by Paul Zindel - both of which are excellent books), and found him to be quite a sympathetic rendering of a troubled teenager.

At only 220 pages, it doesn't take long to read, and you could pass an afternoon in far less pleasant ways than to read this novel.


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