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.
7 thoughts on “The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger”
I read it last year because I thought I “had to,” but I really, REALLY disliked Holden which ruined the novel for me. Plus, it feels extremely dated and I wonder how high schoolers (most of whom are still required to read this book) can possibly relate with this version of coming-of-age.
I guess it’s different for everyone if it’s relatable or not. Personally, I found it very relatable, and I’m barely out of my teens (technically). It didn’t feel dated to me, except for some of choice of words. Holden isn’t exactly a likeable character, but that didn’t bother me. For some reason it made the story even more real to me. I’m not sure if I would’ve liked this book if I’d have had to read it in high school, as I think you need to have some level of maturity to read this book, but I guess we’ll never know. Thank you for commenting and sharing your insights! I appreciate it. 🙂
I’m so glad to hear you related to Holden (truly). Maybe I was just feeling like a crank when I read it (entirely possible).
I read it last year and I absolutely hated Holden. Hence I didn’t like the book. I find him too whiny & angsty but then again he is a teenager. I read a Goodreads review in which the reviewer reads every 5 years and he had love/hate relationship with the book. That review made me wonder: I might have enjoyed the book if I had read it a decade ago when I was a teenager. 🙂
I saw that review as well and thought it was very interesting. While I didn’t think Holden was a likeable character, that didn’t ruin the novel for me, since I thought he was very genuine and interesting, despite being very whiny. 🙂
This is one if those books that are on my ‘Yeah, I should probably pick this up’-list, but I never really get around to. Thanks for the review, I might actually try it ;).
It was the same for me, until I decided to actually read it when I was at my parents’ and didn’t have anything with me I wanted to read after finishing The Hunger Games. 🙂 I hope you enjoy reading it!