Usually when writing book reviews, I give you guys the summary from the back of (my edition of) the book. That won’t really work for The Catcher in the Rye though, as the back of my edition is the same as the front. Quite empty. I went to look what Goodreads has to say about the novel, but didn’t find its description very suitable for this review. I think that’s because I went into this novel knowing very little about it, except that it’s a classic and it’s about a troubled teenage boy (Holden) who says “goddam” a lot. Knowing so little about it worked out very well for my reading experience, so I don’t want to give too much away for the few people who don’t know much about it yet but do want to read it.
So what am I going to talk about? Well, the usual: some ramblings about what I liked and/or disliked.
I did really like The Catcher in the Rye. I don’t think it’s a new favourite of mine, but I can definitely see why it is a classic and why so many people find this novel life-changing and amazing. It definitely gives you something to think about, although I can’t pinpoint what exactly are the features that are so thought provoking. It is just so honest and raw, while at the same time being told by a somewhat unreliable narrator. There’s something about that combination that hits a certain spot. While reading, I felt very sorry for Holden but was also quite annoyed with him at certain points during the story. In any case, I felt quite close to him as a narrator, as if he was telling his story to me personally, and I was concerned about what was going to happen to him. That’s the sign of a great novel, right there.
Then there’s also the fact that the writing style of this novel is just something else entirely, in a good way. As I said, the story is told through the eyes of Holden, and through the manner in which he relays everything that happened to him it’s just as if you’re listening to him speak. No fancy words, a lot of curse words and a very nonchalant and seemingly spontaneous way of telling/writing. Even though this novel was written over sixty years ago, it still feels relevant today. There’s no sign of the archaic language you find in many other classics, although the constant use of the word “old” without it referring to age made me chuckle quite a bit.
I’m not sure if this review was entirely coherent, but I decided to keep the just-say-what-you-feel kind of style of the novel in mind while writing, as it seemed fitting.
Anyway, it was good to finally read The Catcher in the Rye and I was thoroughly impressed by its one of a kind-ness. If you haven’t read it yet, I’d really recommend putting it on your to read list. You might not love it (or you might be passionate about it, who knows), but I feel it’s definitely a must-read for book lovers.