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November 27, 2011

The Catcher in the Rye


The Catcher in the Rye is a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger. I am not a fast reader. However, I started reading this book yesterday and I was done reading it today. From the first line in the book, I was hooked. And then, how can you not be. I mean, it just hits you like a ton of bricks. The only criticism that I have is to myself for not having read it, … way, way, way before.

As you may already be suspecting, I really liked the book. It is as fresh today, some sixty plus years later, as it was when it was first published. Although, I can imagine that it must have been quite a shocker to the reading public when it first came out. I believe the book was banned for most of the twentieth century and it appears that it was only removed from some banned lists, in the past years.

Generally speaking, I don’t like novels that are written in first person. And this one is. But it was written so brilliantly that it keeps you totally engage, wanting for more.

It is not a sappy or sentimental novel, to be sure. It has a coarse language and swearing all over the place. And kids today don’t, by and large, use that slang anymore. But these, at least to me, were not any detractors to the work.

Holden Caulfield, the novel’s antihero, is almost a sociopath that cannot relate to his environment. The novel takes place in New York and it spans not more than a few days in the life of Holden. I would say that Holden is a little bit too complex a character for a seventeen year old, but then again, this is the vehicle that the author chose, to deliver a witty and certainly crazy and entertaining character.

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