The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger


Sorry again for the delay between posts – this time I’m going to blame getting a full-time job, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it means I have more money to buy books, but it does mean I have less time to actually read them. In any case, you can expect a new post about once a month from now on, unless I read a really amazing book and want to share my thoughts about it straight away.

I’ve just finished The Catcher in the Rye which was…interesting. The writing style reminded me a lot of Perks of Being a Wallflower, so if you enjoyed that, you’ll probably like this one too. It is written from the point of view of Holden Caulfield, who’s recently been kicked out of yet another boarding school for not ‘applying himself’. Throughout the book he recounts his final days at his boarding school before he decides to leave early and stay in a hotel in New York without telling his parents he’s home. Although he doesn’t expressly say where he is writing from, it becomes clear that he is undergoing treatment in a mental hospital. What is clear throughout the book is that he does see the world in a different way to everyone else, I felt that some of what he said made a lot of sense.

I find this is a difficult book to review, or even explain, and I feel that to see if you enjoy it you really need to read it for yourself. I did however find a great description of the book on that I think sums it up well:

The hero-narrator of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children’s voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden’s voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

Be warned, this book isn’t an easy read, but if you stick to it I think you’ll find it enjoyable nonetheless. As one of the covers above says: “This unusual book may shock you, will make you laugh, and may break your heart – but you will never forget it.”

And I have one of those very loud, stupid laughs. I mean if I ever sat behind myself in a movie or something, I’d probably lean over and tell myself to please shut up.

7/10 – a truly unique reading experience that will make you laugh, cry and think very hard.


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