I’ve recently (two months ago, maybe?) read The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. Yeah, that book that’s mandatory in many schools. It wasn’t in mine, not to brag or anything.
I liked it. I really did. I won’t tell anything about the plot to support that opinion. However, I do have reasons. They are:
- Holden’s language: Holden’s the main character, by the way. He writes in a very particular way. He really does. He uses the same constructions again and again, the same structures, the same catchphrases and the same swearing words. He goddamn does. Why? Because TCitR is not an epic story. It’s a journal written by a teen who flunks his classes. He can’t write perfectly. But he can write. More on that later
- Holden’s hatred: As his sister Phoebe tells him, there’s nothing in the world he likes, except for kids and his siblings, but nobody is aware of that. He lives hating everything and everybody, calling people “phonies” and hypocrites. Which brings us to
- Holden’s Logic: He makes fairly good points explaining his hatred. It leads the reader (or me, at least) to hate the people he describes as much as he does, noticing those disgusting behaviors in people in his life (or maybe in himself). Because Holden’s Logic is correct. There are disgusting things in the world. But…
- Holden’s Solipsism: Yes, he is right. So? You cannot just live hating everybody. There are always exceptions. The lesson he learns is to stop directing his energy against the world, and use it in favor of it, instead. He learns. He makes mistakes, and recognizes them. Which leads to
- Holden’s Evolution: At first he is an angsty teen against the world. But, somewhere in the story, he learns. He decides to become a “Catcher in the Rye”, stopping the kids that play in the Rye to fall into the void. He wants to stop kids from growing into terrible people as the ones he hates. Then,
- Holden’s Coherence: That’s why he writes the book. He wants to teach kinds growing. Because, as teens, most of us have felt as he did. Disgusted by seeing how the world is not as we imagined it to be. And that leads to hatred, just like it led him to hate phonies. But he realizes it’s not right to fall into that trap. Being a cynic is easy. Being hopeful is not. He writes the book to prevent us from growing into suspicious people.
Those are the wonders of the book. It’s one of the best books I have ever read, and I do recommend it, for this brief post is not half as good as the novel is. It really isn’t.