Author: J. D. Salinger
Published by Little Brown and Company
Genres: Literary realism, Coming-of-age story
“Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two, of course, are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.” -Goodreads
This story has a vast perspective on youth and adulthood from someone stuck in between. It is an amazingly written novel. I liked the anger and the angst throughout the book. This is a perfect book for anyone to read since it is so relatable. I personally felt like I could connect to a lot of the context. I am glad I read this novel.
I like the conversational style this was written in. I kind of could imagine sitting next to Holden waiting for a train or something while he told me this story of him getting kicked out of Pencey. I enjoy books that are laid back and I think this book is a nice relaxing book to just chill out and read. It is a quick read if you don’t string it out as I had. I believe this book can get quite tiresome if you don’t read it in a decent time. It takes place over a two days and yes Holden does have a very eventful two days but you do have to read it as fast as it happens. Also, I do not understand how he even got all the things he did during the story done in that amount of time.
There is no real plot to the story in the most literal sense of rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. There isn’t even really an exposition since Holden is mostly resistant on sharing any information on his life before. Salinger was trying to go towards something with this book but there is no climax which I think makes a plot. Holden’s conflict is more with himself and accepting the truths about growing up. The story does have character growth and a eureka moment near the end but it isn’t very noticeable unless you pay close attention to details and read in between the lines. Other than that there is no real plot.
I understand that back in the era it was written in WWII had just ended and they wanted everyone to believe society was perfect, children were expected to do certain things, etc. I believe that Salinger was trying to bring attention to the problems with civilization at that time. The message isn’t really clear until the end. I think that is what made me not read this story at a decent speed. I didn’t get where the story was going. There was no conflict of epic proportions that would lead to a peak in the storyline. I do however think it is pleasant to have a book with a struggle more on the inside. I haven’t read many books with this different perspective.
Holden is a very relatable character. Even now in the 21st century, most teenagers can associate to what Holden says. He gets real about issues in aristocracy, discussing phony adults and phony teenagers just trying to be cool. Holden examines society’s rules and mocks them. He curses and disregards his family’s and societies values. He loathes everything about the adult world and wants to defend the innocence of the children. He thinks children lose everything exceptional about themselves when they become adults. It is a touching book about the purity of children and someone who wants to protect them.
In my opinion, this story was an engaging read. It does have a few elements that I don’t dislike I just didn’t necessarily appreciate about the novel. I thought it was a great book other than its minor flaws. I think it would have been a poorer book for what it was trying to say if the flaws were fixed and that is why I don’t dislike them. I hope you enjoyed this review. have a good day!
Star Rating: 4.8
Thank you for reading!