Thursday, 17 January 2019

Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Sixteen year old Holden Caulfield leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and finds himself going underground in New York City for three days.

“I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.”

The Catcher in the Rye is one of those books that I probably would have benefited from studying in school. I’m sure there were plenty of themes and hidden meanings that were just going SWOOSH over my head, however the unignorable themes of teenage angst and rebellion are present from the very first page.

Holden himself is... complex. I felt quite sorry for him at points throughout the book, yet every time he said that something “killed him” how I wish I COULD kill him!! Repetitive phrases quickly become very irritating for me and that occurs in abundance in this book.

The plot itself is also very meandering... if I had to describe what happened, I would struggle. It actually reminded me a lot of American Psycho. The crazy narrative from our protagonist, repetitive sequences... but I absolutely LOVED American Psycho and found Patrick Bateman to be highly entertaining!

Holden clearly suffers from some mental health problems, I’m not a psychiatrist so I can’t diagnose, but there seems to be signs of depression as well as ADHD - potentially other issues too? And I can only feel sympathetic when a character demonstrates such struggles with their mental health. A particular scene towards the end - involving his sister - did make me feel very sad.

But at the same time, it was a slog to get through certain sections. So I feel very conflicted overall. I’m glad I read it though, I’m just not sure I’d ever pick it up again unfortunately! However the longer I sit and think about it... the more I find myself almost liking the book? I DON’T KNOW. It’s difficult - this review is a mess...

2.5 stars seems about fair!!


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