The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

“when you’re not looking, somebody’ll sneak up and write “Fuck you” right under your nose.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

When I started reading The Catcher in the Rye I didn’t expect much of it. And I wish I could say I hated this book, I really do. I’ve only written reviews about how much I loved a book, never about how much I hated one. But I didn’t hate The Catcher in the Rye at all. Although the plot was simple, I thought this book was funny, compelling, and I could really empathize with Holden, the protagonist, all throughout the book.

The book mainly takes place in New York, but it starts in Pennsylvania. Holden Caulfield is a 16 year old teenager that just got kicked out of his school, Pencey Prep. He failed at almost all of his subjects there. He doesn’t really know what he wants to do. So when his roommate Stradlater and he get into a fight, he decides he’s had enough of his school and takes a train to New York. His plan is to check into a hotel for a few days, because his parents aren’t expecting him to come home yet. From that moment on he mostly just does what he feels like doing.

J.D. Salinger ’s most famous book is about being lost, lonely and about not having many connections with anyone or anything. His brilliant first novel was published in 1951 and it immediately became popular. It was on the New York Times Bestseller list for thirty weeks and it was named by Modern Library as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

The Catcher in the Rye has been compared to Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, because it also about a rebellious boy and Mark Twain used the same kind of humor and language in his book. Salinger wrote The Catcher in the Rye in a way that really gets to you. He admitted that the book was ‘sort of’ autobiographical and he said that his boyhood used to be a lot like Holden’s.  His way of writing follows the processes of Holden’s thoughts from beginning to end. It shows you exactly how he thinks and I loved the way Holden thinks. He criticizes a lot of things people do and say. He often thinks people are ‘phony’ and he can be very sarcastic. That killed me.

“If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the “Fuck you” signs in the world. It’s impossible.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Holden can also get very depressed and lonely. When that happens he calls or talks to a random person, sometimes to someone he already knows sometimes to someone he’s just met. Just for the company. Which is something, I believe, many people have experienced themselves some time in their life.

The Catcher in the Rye is by far the most interesting and most realistic novel about being a teenager I have read so far. It shifts between funny and sad, as Holden’s mood changes. I think everyone can relate to what Holden feels and thinks. It’s a book you won’t be able forget, once you’ve finished reading it.

“I think, even, if I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all, it’ll say ‘Holden Caulfield’ on it, and then what year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that it’ll say ‘Fuck you.’ I’m positive, in fact.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye


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