The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Jan 26, 2010

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is my all-time favorite book. I appreciate Holden Caulfield’s wit, sarcasm, charm and ability to exaggerate the facts. To my parent’s dismay, I was once a teenager like Holden and possessed many, if not all, of his aforementioned qualities. But in my defense, I can honestly say that I never attempted to hire a hooker, drink underage nor did I swear incessantly or pick fights with my classmates…except for that one kid, but he really had it coming.After re-reading this book over the summer, I forgot how much I loved this Holden kid. He didn’t fit in too well at the different boarding schools and he really only connected with a couple teachers and family members. Unfortunately for him, those that were closest to his heart were physically far away.We meet Holden at the end of the fall semester and about to face expulsion from Pencey School. He recently lost his brother while the other moved to California and adding insult to injury, his hot-shot roommate, Stradlater, goes on a date with a girl he used to like named Jane. Before Stradlater goes out with the girl who always kept her kings in the back row, he’s asked to write an essay with grammatical mistakes so it didn’t look like Holden wrote it. While writing the essay, he’s stuck in the dorms with his neighbor Ackley, who keeps barging in his room for no apparent reason.Shortly after Stradlater returns from his date, they fight over a bit of name-calling. Holden decides he’s had enough of Pencey and packs up and heads for New York to visit his little sister, Pheobe.Along the way he meets a lot of interesting people including a couple of nuns, a classmate’s mother, a prostitute and her pimp, an old flame, a former teacher and couple other folks he naturally considers phonies.The book contains strong language, which is one of the many reasons it has ended up on the banned books list. But, I appreciate Holden’s honesty throughout the whole story. I think he just needed someone to listen to him without trying to fix him. I hope he finds that person at his next school…

Reviewed by Library Staff