Book 1 of my 10 books of summer challenge hosted by Cathy over at 746 Books.
It’s Christmas time and Holden Caulfield has just been expelled from yet another school. Fleeing the crooks at Pencey Prep, he pinballs around New York City seeking solace in fleeting encounters – shooting the bull with strangers in dive hotels, wandering alone round Central Park, getting beaten up by pimps and cut down by erstwhile girlfriends. The city is beautiful and terrible, in all its neon loneliness and seedy glamour, its mingled sense of possibility and emptiness. Holden passes through it like a ghost, thinking always of his kid sister Phoebe, the only person who really understands him, and his determination to escape the phonies and find a life of true meaning.
The Catcher in the Rye is an all-time classic in coming-of-age literature: an elegy to teenage alienation, capturing the deeply human need for connection and the bewildering sense of loss as we leave childhood behind.
Where do I start with this book? It’s sarcastic, witty, solemn and interesting.
You can tell that Holden Caulfield is depressed and lonely because of how many people he asked to have a drink with him. All the while hiding the fact that he was kicked out of his fourth school form his parents.
He is so determined to hide this from his parents that he avoided going home for 4 days, and wondered around New York.
When I first started reading this book I found it difficult because I had no idea where it was going, but I pushed through and started really enjoying it. Thinking about it this book was released in 1946 which in my mind is 60 years ago but I know it is 84 years ago, but the language used is so different from laguage used these days.
It is fascinating to me that this book was the most censored book in US between 1961 and 1862 because of the ‘vulgar language’, ‘promoting of smoking and drinking’ amoung other reasons. A teacher even got fired for assigning it for school work. It was even banned in 1978. Whereas, in today people will happily describe sex in books.
It just fascinates me how times have changed in what seems like a short period of time.
I found Holden to be quite erratic in his thoughts, they seem to jump all over the place when he is describing something, but it does make sense and is easy to follow where he is going and why he has jumped back.
I feel that the way it is written in a jumpy sort of fashion reflects how Holden is jumping around the city avoiding his parents.
I came to a point where I started to dislike Holden because of how intense he was when he got onto a subject that he really wanted to talk about and I found myself thinking ‘please just stop talking’. So I did understand why people he was talking to would get frustrated with him.
The ending of the book did make up for his behaviour though. You can tell how much he cares for his sister Phoebe and how much she means to him especially after he lost Allie. It seems to me that the whole point of the book is that people are important, and people can help with whatever you need as long as you talk.