BOOK REVIEW: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the RyeThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazon.in Page

This book will be familiar to most Americans as high school required reading. It’s about a teenager, Holden Caulfield, who’s just been expelled from a boarding school and who goes on the adolescent version of a bender – which involves some drinking but is more a mix of attempted escape and soul-searching. At first, it seems that Holden just wants to put off having to see his parents (this not being the first school at which he’s failed,) but then it seems like he might try to escape the transition to adult life altogether.

The core premise is that Caulfield can’t adapt to adult life. This is interesting in that, in some ways, he’s preternaturally mature. The character has an unusually accurate perception of his own nature, even when that nature is petty, childish, or lazy. He doesn’t rationalize his failures but recognizes them. Ultimately, Caulfield can’t cope with the false masks required of adult living and the ever-changing nature of adult life.

Like many, I did a shoddy (at best) job of reading this book in high school. It’s not exactly an action-packed romp, and the major happenings (e.g. a fight at school, being shaken down by a pimp on behalf of prostitute whom Caulfield had paid but hadn’t had sex with, and an unwelcomed [possibly sexual] advance from a former teacher) are few, far between, and somewhat anticlimactic. That said, as literary fiction the book is readable, makes bold choices with language, builds a fascinating character, and offers plenty of interesting psychology to ponder.

I’d highly recommend this book for readers of literary fiction (or a re-read for those who half-assed it in school.)


View all my reviews

4 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

  1. The Catcher in the Rye offers a raw and honest portrayal of the struggles of adolescence and the challenges of transitioning into adulthood. Through the eyes of Holden Caulfield, the reader is given a glimpse into the complexities of the human psyche and the difficulties of navigating the expectations of society. A must-read for lovers of literary fiction, this novel encourages self-reflection and contemplation on the complexities of growing up.

    Like

  2. At now 68, I too first read the book when at school, learning English in Germany. And reading the reviews, I notice how much Holden went under my skin and – is still there. I want to should: It’s not just a book… it’s not just about… – why do people have to distance themselves… At the age of 48 I did an end-of-term performance at College about a section of the book, making it my own (still not getting it out of my system).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Solitary 4 Tomorrow – in Dialogue and commented:
    At now 68, I too first read the book when at school, learning English in Germany. And reading the reviews, I notice how much Holden went under my skin and – is still there. I want to should: It’s not just a book… it’s not just about… – why do people have to distance themselves… At the age of 48 I did an end-of-term performance at College about a section of the book, making it my own (still not getting it out of my system).

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.