Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger's New Yorker stories particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme With Love and Squalor, will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is fully of children. The hero-narrator of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.
After reading this book, I can understand why so many would be able to relate to it. Granted, the pace of the narration is very slow, you can even say it as boring to a large extent, but I think this book is something I’ll treasure because I can picture myself in the protagonist’s shoes to a large extent, and it leaves me wondering at times if I would have had the will to do what he does, take life as it comes. I admire Holden for his attitude, where he knows he might be, and probably is wrong, and takes the scolding that the teacher he most respects gives to him. What Salzinger does is bring out every thought vividly, and you can imagine yourself as Holden. Witty, tongue-in-cheek, resentful, sometimes blatantly honest, demanding attention and respect, yet acting like a child… mischievous and uncaring. I’m blown away by this book, for it remains true to the emotions of a person who’s in that grey area between childhood and adulthood, and something I realize and understand that even I had been stuck there. A classic, and one I shall re-read again very soon.
I rate this: 4.5 stars!
Book Title: The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J. D. Salinger
Genre: Young Adult/Classics
Publishers: Penguin Books Ltd.
Price: INR. 350
Reviewed by: Leo
Shared with: First Reads at b00k r3vi3ws