Thursday, September 14, 2017

Book Review - 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."

Here's my review of The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D.Salinger

Insight into the book from Goodreads:

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. 

Written in 1951, this book is still relateable  to today's teenager's dealing with the hardships of becoming an adult.  I think it's important for every teenager to read this, because it's a reminder that no matter the day or age, you may lose yourself when you're growing up, make some wrong turns, and have to start over.  Being a senior in high-school, I felt as though I could relate to this book immensely.

The story takes the reader through a few days in the life of Holden Cauflieuld.  I could already tell the type of person Holden was, in the first few pages.  He finds himself humorous in some of the oddest moments, but he's also emotionally damaged.  He finds so many situations as "that made me so damn depressed" throughout the book, while others he says "that killed me" sometimes in a laughing sense, or pure devastation.  

There was not a storyline to this book, it was completely character driven.  The way Holden sees the world and takes the reader through it - it was sometimes depressing as hell.  I could feel the loneliness Holden had, through the pages of the book.  He even confided with taxi drivers, and drunkards at bars, desperately looking for someone to have a conversation with.  Holden saw the terrible in the world, twisted into his eloquent voice, as he struggled to come to terms with how his life was changing.

Despite the pain Holden seemed to have within himself, he had a positive relationship with his little sister.  She was a reminder of the good in the world, and surprisingly, she was much more mature than he is.  Almost everything Holden did made his mind wander back to her, and in a way, he looked up to her (despite how young she was).  It made me wish he found someone his age that brought that much good into his life.

The way Holden saw people and situations, really got to me.  For example, *teeny spoiler!!* when he bought his little sister the record, and then dropped it and it shattered everywhere - I felt his pain in that moment.  He was so excited to give his sister that record, and then it fell and shattered and their wasn't anything he could do about it.  I completely understand that feeling, of doing something for someone and it not working out. There is so much disappointment involved in that, and that's exactly how Holden felt: disappointed.  

It is very difficult to write a summary on this book, considering there wasn't much of a plot.  However, I felt as though I really connected with the book and Holden as a young adult character, and I enjoyed every page.  

via GIPHY  

I did research on the author himself, and he was impact by a Professor at Columbia University, that influenced his writing.  Professor Burnett urged Salinger to continue with his short stories, and to not stop writing.  Once Salinger's work was published in The New Yorker in 1946, he wrote Catcher in the Rye.  The last four decades of his life, his close family and friends said that he wrote all the time, but he has an apparent lack of published works.  It's said that their may be as many as ten finished novels locked away in his house. . . how interesting.

Thank you for reading my review of The Catcher in the Rye!  Have you read it, or hoping too?  Leave a comment below what you think!


  1. Thanks so much for subscribing to my blog! I subbed back!

    I'm not a huge fan of The Catcher in the Rye, but I like hearing others perspectives and thoughts on it because it's one of those books that you either love or hate. Glad you liked it! I didn't know that little tidbit about Salinger's personal life and I thought that was pretty cool. Great review!

    1. Yes you're right, it's really a love or hate book! Thanks for subbing back :)

  2. I love this book. I read it way back in high school and did a re-read a couple years ago - I truly think it's one of the early, voice-y YAs.
    Jen Ryland

    1. It's certainly an early voice young adult book :) Glad you enjoyed it too!