Author – J.D. Salinger
Publisher – Penguin Books
Genre – Classics
Pages – 228
Ratings – 4.5/5
“The Catcher In The Rye is a classic novel originally published for adults but has since become popular with adolescent readers for its theme of teenage angst and alienation”.
The book centres around the life of Holden Caulfield, the protagonist who can be discerned as the voice of teenagers. It is written in subjective style where we get to read about Holden’s feelings about school, his classmates, Hollywood, his siblings and his family. Holden as a character is best seen as a critic who criticizes everything in his life and considers most of the people ‘phony’. The book contain certain colloquial terms which were known amongst the teenagers of his time.
The book is about Holden’s psychological journey from a period of his life. He, still grieving from the death of his brother Allie goes through an internal traumatic experience where he is never at ease anywhere. He never settles at one place and contemplates about going ‘somewhere out West’ where nobody would know him.
The only time he feels delightful is when he hears a boy singing, “The Catcher In The Rye” in the park and though it may seem insignificant but the fact it renders relief, if only for a short period of time, to the troubled Holden corroborates that it is integral. One can perhaps, interpret it as an analogy for Holden, who admires in children attributes that he struggles to find in adults like kindness, genoristy, spontaneity and innocence. Falling off the cliff could be a progression into the adult world that surrounds him and that he strongly criticizes.
One can also argue that “The Catcher In The Rye” is a disguised war novel. Salinger after returning from the war, writes not about his horrific experience but wrote a “coming of age-novel”
I would recommend it to everyone as it is a novel which leads us to retrospect on our journey as a teenager and what we have gained or lost being an adult. Have we become more ‘phony’ or pretentious or does the childish part of ourselves still remain somewhere deep inside?
Sources for some information – Wikipedia.