Hey readers! This week was amazing as I reread this spectacular book. The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger. Well, I have lots to say about this book and I’ve been obsessing over it since the first time I read it. Views on this book have always varied from person to person. While most people regard this book as a classic masterpiece, this book has also received tremendous criticism. This book has always been a contentious topic of conversation. In fact, it has been so controversial that it has been banned multiple times over the years for various reasons.
What strikes me most about this book is it’s writing style. When you read a book, you take in all the characters, all the plots, subplots, endings and then pass a judgment on it. But while reading this book, it felt like I was a part of a smooth conversation and the author was speaking to me and I was just listening. The prose and language used in this book is very casual and easy to comprehend. One of the reasons of it getting banned was the use of harsh and obscene language.
Another reason, as to why this book is so iconic that it is still widely read across the world after more than half a century, is the impact it had on the reading audience at that time. While literature in the forties portrayed an exuberant and boisterous side to everything, this book changed YA literature forever. It showed people that life always isn’t easy and joyful the way our parents make it seem. It’s life, it’s hard.
The book revolves around Holden’s journey as he gets kicked out of school because of failing in almost all subjects. Impulsively, Holden decides to take the night train and go to New York, a few days earlier than he was supposed to, and spend some alone time and brace himself before being reproached by his resentful parents
Holden Caulfield, a 16-year old chainsmoker, is depressed. Throughout the book, Holden has been portrayed as a dismal character who thinks that adulthood is the worst thing that can ever happen to humans and believes that all adults are ‘phony’ and snobbish and wishes that he was still a kid. To Holden, adolescence and childhood is the purest age where everyone shows each other their truest side. Everything that provokes almost everyone to do something and aspires people, does not interest Holden at all and all he wants to do is to shield his younger sister Phoebe from the cruelties of adulthood. Throughout the narrative, we come across three characters that hold major importance in his life – his lamented brother Allie, his friend Jane Gallagher and his sister Phoebe. As you read the book and see what Holden goes through, you can’t help but love him and feel his pain.
As to the plot, there isn’t much. The plot of the book is something that a lot of people don’t find interesting as in fiction books we often look for a good plot. The book has been told in the first person and thus the narrative can be very unreliable at times as Holden tells everything that happened with him last Christmas. Thus, there are a lot of differing theories as to why Holden was really depressed and people are still trying to figure out what the book was really about. I found the book extremely humorous as Holden doesn’t hesitate while telling us everything that he feels about adults. Holden is the most unique character I’ve ever come across and as a teenager, I could relate to almost everything in the book. Holden’s love for his sister just melts my heart and I can’t help but love this book!
J.D. Salinger confirmed in an interview that the book is semi-autobiographic and I believe that this great work is the aftermath of the Post-Traumatic Stress Salinger had to go through after serving in the Second World War.
Regardless of what various critics and people have to say about this book, I encourage everyone to read it and just go for it!