The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J. D. Salinger
Rated A for angsty teen alienation with a side of narcissism.
“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kid of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”
Go inside the edgy and sarcastic life of Holden Caulfield. Having been expelled from his latest prep school, Holden can’t figure what’s next. So, he takes off for a couple days before finally going home. Amid tough talk, Holden ultimately gives way to just how dislocated from the rest of the world he is. The typical confusion and air of rebellious nature one predicts.
So, I had to think on how to start this out over the course of a couple days. All in all? This book is just…unbearable. I’m so very grateful I didn’t have to read this back in school. Incredibly grateful. Getting through this on my own was beyond a chore. While I understand the charm of its classic nature, Holden was too much. Too much in the sense that if we knew each other, I would very well punch him. LOL. Of course, for the time, this is a depiction of life on the wild side before having to return to what it is your parents want you to be.
Outrageous language for its time that crossed the line of rebellious. Which is probably about the only thing that I loved about the book to be honest. It’s blunt and right to the point. It’s probably what any of us would say in our heads about so much. Something too also take into account is the pace of the narrative, which is quick since this tale only spans a couple of days, is laid back and careless.
Definitely a refreshing take on the privileged side of life, the side that has no idea what it’s like to have things hard though they protest otherwise. The privilege of never having to worry about screwing up because you never get in trouble, even after getting expelled from your fourth prep school. The privilege of the full ride in life. Obviously, Holden comes from the richer side of life and doesn’t have to worry about what trouble could come his way as he goes on with his side adventure which in a way is tragic. The closest he came was with the prostitute he was scammed by and didn’t even have relations with. He talked up a big game and had no actual experience behind it.
Still, I found his relationship with his sister admirable. While Holden professed to care abut very little, she was a different story. Filled with so much innocence, he looked up to her. The both of them ask unlikely question that I found understandable though others in the book found annoying. There is a need for knowledge and understanding and sometimes you ask unlikely sources. Then again, it begged the question, because Holden was quite the ass, did he ask for answerers because he sought them out out or to prove what a little shit he could be? It all depends on the angle you look at it from, I guess. Still a more interesting part of the book on top of his incredible ability of observation.
While I understand this is a classic and therefore a must read, I’m unsure it’s enjoyable. However, when looking across the timeline of privilege I do find this to be quite important to give a read.
“The goddam movies. They can ruin you. I’m not kidding.” (p. 104)
“Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.” (p. 113)
“I mean, how do you know what you’re going to do till you do it? The answer is, you don’t. I think I am, but how do I know? I swear it’s a stupid question.” (p. 213)
More to come soon…
Song Today? Teenage Dirtbag by Wheatus
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!