Catcher In The Rye

Catcher In The Rye
Author: J. D. Salinger 
Release Date: 16th July 1951
Penguin Classics 

So it finally comes down to this. After years of people bringing up this god damn book I’ve gone and picked it up. Are you happy now? What pushed me over the edge and down to the book store was the many references within the last novel I read, Norwegian Wood. And I should say I should have listened to everyone’s suggestions, but then I never listen to anybody. Is that right?

Catcher In The Rye is something I’ve been missing, that link that connects all my favourite authors together while influencing my own style. It’s about a teenager who has flunked out of his school once again and so he decides to get out there and wander around, doing small things anyone could do if they had some cash at hand. It doesn’t go far in terms of distance or progression, but it touches the stratosphere on a more personal level. Holden sees the world as it is, full of phonies and jerks. He perhaps is a jerk himself, as evident from the way he thinks and acts towards people, but he’s a likeable kind of jerk because he hits the sore spot so many damn times. It doesn’t change the way you think about the people around you, it just awakens what you already know. If it doesn’t have that agreeing factor, it probably won’t unravel to the same effect.

The story is basically Holden going around to various places as he tries to figure out what to do now he’s running out from school. He often thinks back to the past with a tale that tend to create the more poignant moments, but there is plenty of that in the present as we follow his confused state of mind.The characters and situations are always straightforward, but it is the way Holden brings it alive with his cynical voice. I probably looked like an idiot when I was reading in public and laughing aloud. You always have to be one hundred per cent serious when alone in public, or people think you’re nuts. You have to be phony and put on a show. The book is a book of truths through and through. But we should all perhaps be a little more positive than Holden. Or we’d be in a similar land of confusion.

I’m glad I got round to reading it and I’m happy it isn’t the book which promotes those jerks who sit around going on about stuff from twenty years before they existed while wearing stupid smart clothes in a crummy pub. I thought it was for those guys. That’s why I held off for so damn long. It’s a book for the cynic in all of us, and provides a fresh way to hate everyone around you. Unless you read it back in the 50’s, then you’re probably over all that stuff. Freed your mind and all.


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