The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (Review by Emma A. ’21)

The Catcher in the RyeThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At this point, I believe this book is infamous. If you have not read it, you have certainly heard about J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. It seems that people either love to love it or love to hate it with no in-between. Before reading the novel, I was sure I would hate it. However, I was gravely wrong as in the book, I found the story of a deeply troubled boy who desperately needed someone to help him.

The Catcher in the Rye is a novel about a 17-year-old boy named Holden Caulfield, who, upon being kicked out of his prep school, goes on a three-day stint in New York City before he has to face his parents and tell them of his expulsion. Holden’s declining mental state is also hinted at throughout the novel and is the source of many of his rash decisions and actions.

In my opinion, many readers immediately cite Holden’s pretension, pessimism, and insufferability as the reason why they vehemently despise the novel. I believe that this is a severe disservice to Salinger’s book. Through looking deeper into Holden’s psyche, one finds a deeply damaged, isolated, and depressed boy. Holden has clearly been profoundly affected by the passing of his brother, and with allusions to possible sexual abuse/harassment, is left to fend for himself without the help he so desperately needs.

What is also interesting is the number of teenagers this book resonates with, especially male-identifying ones. Many see themselves and their perspective on the world represented through Holden’s bleak narrative. I find that this points to a larger problem surrounding how we should set out to remedy the youth’s dreary outlook on life, but that could just be spurred by the onset of changes and hormones so entwined with teenage life.

Overall, The Catcher in the Rye thoroughly surprised me, and I especially recommend it to those, who, like me, think they will despise it, as maybe, just maybe, it will surprise you too. —Review by Emma A. ’21

For those who enjoyed The Catcher in the Rye, Emma also suggests On the Road by Jack Kerouac, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey.

View all my reviews

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