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The Catcher In The Rye

Book Review Of The Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger 

By Prudhvi Chandra


Before you  go any further, let me tell you something I heard a long time ago. “For every argument there are three sides; the two for which we fight, and of course the third which is right.” In my opinion, the same goes for The Catcher in the Rye. Since its publication in the 50’s, it has been the epitome of controversial books. So before you judge me, let me make this very clear. The review is MY opinion of the book. You may or may not agree with me (though it might be rather inconvenient if you don’t).

Honestly, it’s difficult to explain why I love this book! Obviously, The Catcher in the Rye is not unheard of seeing as it was published 65 years ago and has sold 65 million copies as well! Must be fun to sell a million copies a year!

That should say enough about the genius of this book but I must warn you, it does have traits that most people will strongly recommend against. In fact given the profanity, narcissism and other erratic topics the book revolves around, I say that sensitive readers ought to be on their guard. 

Holden Caulfield, the story’s narrator and definitely neither the protagonist nor the antagonist, is a seventeen year old New Yorker who is angry, depressed, sick and tired of his monotonous life, sick of going to schools full of phony people. Phony as in fake, hypocrite, pretentious. He’s not the everyday kind of teenager you meet on the street. He is sarcastic and depressed most of the time but you can sense a vehement layout of the truth voiced in his blatant angst and alienation. The book is more like reading his blog during the 3-4 days that come between his kicked-out phase from yet another prestigious school and breaking out the news to his parents. Phrases like, “anyways, as I was saying”, “…if you wanna know the truth”, “man that kills me” are extremely common throughout the book. The language sort of grows on you. Therein lies the genius of Salinger, in connecting with the reader. Though profanely cockeyed, Holden is subtly provocative in his vocabulary. Right in the first few pages, Holden talks about his favourite authors and books. He says he likes reading those books the most where he feels like he can call up the author as if the author is his buddy and discuss the characters and events in the book. This book is exactly that book. As I was reading it, I felt like talking to Holden. I believe this is what has made this book the classic we have now, the way you connect to Holden.  A tour de force for sure. 

So this is a neutral positivity for the book. There are definite patterns of nervous breakdowns, depressions, sexual explorations and other bad-to-read-in-literature words and some readers won’t really like it. It’s something that not every reader will be able to grasp or hold onto, but it's something you'll never forget. In other words, if you haven’t already, give it a shot!

 

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