Thursday, April 2, 2015
#184- My to-Read List : The Catcher in the Rye
The Catcher in the Rye written by J.D. Salinger
I didn't know this book would be an instant favorite when I placed it on two of my bucket-list items: All TIMES list and my 100 book list. The Catcher in the Rye was simply amazing. There is not much of a story line; the book is about a 16-year-old boy who gets kicked out of private school and is on his way back home. That's it! It's a simplistic novel, with the most in-depth character development I have encountered in a long time. The book is written from the point-of-view of the main character, Holden Caulfield, in a type of stream-of-conscience way. There are many flashbacks throughout when Holden recalls past events. I enjoyed this type of writing style, as it gives in-depth to characterization.
Let's take a look at the main character, Holden Caulfield. Holden is an angry teenager. I do not have my PhD in psychology, but one can assume that Holden has a different perspective of people and life than other teenagers that are within his social circle because of the death of his brother. He is the pure definition of a cynic, and often thinks of every negative in every situation he is placed in, really he does. This book kills me. I had several moments of actual laughter, as I found humor in the pessimistic Holden. Basically, everything and everyone sucks and everyone is a "phoney." My favorite example is when Holden explains that he would "rather die than join the army" but he doesn't mind dying in the Army, he minds the entire process of Army training. He criticizes Hollywood, prep-boys, and "sell-outs" which Salinger seems to partake in during his lifetime.
It's even more interesting that The Catcher in the Rye inspired numerous assassins into killing people, such as Ronald Reagan. The teenager angst seems to set off some type of psychopath tendency in some people. The book can come off as negative if that's what you take away from it. Personally, I feel like this novel really shows the angst one can feel when there is a death. When someone is taking from you in this life, it's easy to be angry and hate everything until time heals. I feel like in the end, when Holden is watching his sister on the carousel, life starts to look optimistic for the narrator.
There are a lot of great lines in The Catcher in the Rye:
"I am always saying 'Glad to've met you' to somebody I'm not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though."
"I like it when somebody gets excited about something. It's nice"
"When you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery."
"If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's late?" (Every man should live by this quote, I swear)
The Catcher in the Rye is filled with great one-liners. I personally believe it is so well-written. In fact, once I finished reading the novel, I immediately wanted to pick it back up and read it again. I would highly recommend The Catcher in the Rye to anyone that can appreciate great insightful writing without needing an extravagant plot.