The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye is narrated by Holden Caulfield – a disillusioned teenager, who, after getting kicked out of prep school, emotionally and physically deteriorates into a hopeless, depressed existence. He recognizes his terrible state, but can’t seem to find a way out, and spirals to the point of mental breakdown. The book follows him over the course of several days as he tries to figure out what to do. What a loaded book this is – brilliantly written, and equally controversial.

The dialogue is literally LITTERED with swearing; you’re lucky if you can get through one page without one of Holden’s “colorful” rampages and exaggerations. There is also sexually related subject matter, underage drinking, smoking, and other content inappropriate for a non-adult audience (which is why it stays on the most frequently challenged book lists).

Does this book capture the thinking of a teen trying to make sense of the world? Maybe in some isolated cases, but I think Holden’s viewpoint is the exception, not the rule. His condition is pitiable, however Holden’s troubles were not just from bad “luck”, but also bad choices, and an extreme cynicism. This foul-mouth screwed-up teen ain’t exactly the voice I want hanging around my son’s heads – this character WILL leave a lasting impression.

The Catcher in the Rye is a one of a kind book, but it shouldn’t be a required read for high schoolers (it’s 1951 publication was intended for adults). I’m glad I managed to squeak through high-school without having read it. Though I wasn’t overly fond of it, at least as an adult I could better appreciate Salinger’s unusual style, something I wouldn’t have done as a teen. But even as an adult, the profanity was tough to stomach. Readers beware. This read comes at a cost, and the price is innocence.

Author biography

Amazon Error.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *