Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book review: "A Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

J.D. Salinger's lively narrative makes "Catcher in the Rye" irresistably funny and fascinating, as well as troubling. Salinger shows a terrific ear for dialogue
not just spoken conversation, but also the fast-spinning thoughts of Holden Caulfield, the book's 16-year-old protagonist.

Caulfied is a teenager overflowing with negativity, sarcasm and cynicism. He seems to hate almost everything, including movies, actors, cheap luggage, guys who shake hands too hard, friends who yawn when asking for a favor, and people who say "good luck."

It might seem that such relentless negativity would drag a book down, but Salinger offers just enough glimpses beneath Holden's bitter exterior for the reader to discover an endearing, but troubled, boy underneath. For example, Holden takes a curious interest in what happens to Central Park's ducks when winter comes.

Though this book was written in the 1940s, you can't help thinking in light of the Columbine shootings and other teen violence about how it could help us understand today's troubled youths.

I have two reservations about this book. First, despite all he experiences in the course of the story Holden doesn't seem to change much. Sure, his sister and a teacher both challenge his attitudes in the latter part of the book, but he still hates the "stupid questions" everyone asks.

Second, Holden sometimes seems far too wise for his years. I know I wasn't this introspective and people-smart at age 16, nor do I know anyone who was.


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1 comment:

  1. I just happened to pick up this book because I had nothing to do, "The catcher in the rye" I had no idea what it meant or what to expect from the it.And I got to tell you that once I started reading it I realized had never read anything like this, the way its been written is "weird" in a good way and refreshing.The pivotal character Hollden Caulfield, seventeen year old talks about his life, friends ,family, how unassuming he is, how he feels that most of the things and people around him are phony. And you get to know what catcher in the rye actually means.Everyone is a teen at some point of time and hence its easy to relate with this teenager I mean I could relate with him in certain attributes. If you want to try something different than the usual novels this is tailor made for you or even otherwise its a book worth reading. Happy Reading