The Catcher in the Rye – Book Review

While I’m not particularly fond of reading the classics, I have enjoyed reading a few. The catcher in the Rye is one of the most popular classics meant for the teenagers with a teenager named Holden Caulfield as the protagonist.

The Plot and the Theme

The entire plot of The Catcher in the Rye revolves around the protagonist when he decides to go underground in NYC for three days. It explores the temperament of a sixteen year old teenager through the protagonist and the rebellious attitude that everybody bears at that age. Through him, the author, J. D. Salinger tries to capture the perfectly articulated cry of pain residing in a teenager and the frustrations that may lead one on a wrong path. The book comprises of several voices – children’s voices, adult voices, underground voices and of course, Holden’s voices. While it is difficult to understand him as a character, that’s the whole beauty of it.

I could not understand the hype surrounding it.

I agree that the literature value of The Catcher in the Rye is quite good, but that does not makes it exceptional in my humble opinion. It is a simple story that transmutes nowhere. Holden’s character is rather annoying at most of the places. The actual context is dull and drags through the pages.

I’m not against the fans.

After I had finished reading the book, I was able to grasp that this book can have extreme opinions. If you can somehow relate to the leading character Holden and he reminds you of your teenage, you can certainly connect with him and all his activities. You can even form a bond with him on an emotional level.

What I liked but wasn’t enough to hold me throughout.

Some beautiful quotes in the book make you ponder about the truthfulness of them. When Holden says

“Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”
You can realize the beauty of those words. How often have you found that yourself?

If you are a bibliophile, you can certainly connect with the following quote:

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”

There are several other places where you will actually feel the words written by Salinger. Some incidences might even hit you hard, but overall, it failed to connect with me on the whole.

The lousy extravaganza and other things I hated

The Catcher in the Rye is full of the words ‘Lousy’, ‘Swell’, ‘Sonuvabitch’, ‘Phony’ etc. For Holden, everything is phony and it was beyond my understanding. I could not understand the reason behind his temperament. It’s alright to be somewhat rebellious or brash but it was simply extreme.

I hated how he is never able to talk with Jane Gallagher, the girl who meant so much to him, for whom he was so protective in the beginning.

Summing Up

I do not downright hate The Catcher in Rye. As I have already mentioned, there are things that I liked. I even liked the climax and the cuteness of Holden’s sister, but it could all sum up for an average experience.

You can buy The Catcher in the Rye here

Anmol Rawat

Anmol Rawat is a writer, which, considering where you are reading this, makes perfect sense. His debut solo book ‘ABCs of Horror’ is a collection of 26 terrifying standalone tales. He thinks Game of Thrones and Supernatural are the best TV series ever made and devours on Nicholas Sparks, Dan Brown, Stephen King & John Green. He would kill for a good cup of Cappuccino, as should all right thinking people.
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  1. From the book reviews in your blog it is clear that you are basically into light reading, books written mostly by authors without much aesthetic sense. And it is no surprising that you could not grasp the aesthetic merits of this great work by Salinger. Firstly, this book is set in a particular period in American history. You must read the rather unfounded angst ridden voice of the narrator against the backdrop of his time. The thing that makes this book a classic (and required reading) of American literature is the author’s portrayal of the angst of a generation by entering into the psyche of a teenager.

    I highly recommend The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, another American classic. Maybe you’ll like it because at its heart there’s a love story.

    • You can say that because I did not grow up reading Shakespeare, Dickens, Homer etc in my graduation in literature 😉

      On a serious note, I do like classics if I find them good. I already know what you are explaining here but like I said, I found it dull. So yes, may be the book is great for you, it is not for me.

      Oh, and I have read The Great Gatsby. 🙂

      PS: My reviews are not meant to hurt any sentiments. They are just my opinions and they may differ from anybody or even a big mass. 🙂

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