The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Book.
I didn’t enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed theorizing it. Lol
Not to mention, my intrigue as I read articles about the author’s reclusive lifestyle and, the randomness of this book being connected to the assassination of John Lennon! Just wild.
I won’t give away too much. If you haven’t read the book, here’s the gist:
The Catcher in the Rye is about a teenage boy (17-years-old?) who gets kicked out of a prestigious school and avoids (immediately) going home to tell his parents. He goes off to New York instead, meets all kinds of people from different walks of life and shares his interactions with them, as well as his personal thoughts about them.
This was my first time reading this book.
Spoilers ahead! Stop reading now if you want to read this story yourself.
Keep reading and feel free to chime in with your thoughts if you read the book. I’d be interested to know what you think/thought of it.
Here are my thoughts…
The storyline was underwhelming.
I kept waiting for something major to happen. Specifically, once Holden had returned home.
In the beginning, he made such a big deal about getting kicked out and, having to go home and tell his parents. Naturally, I wondered what his parent’s reaction would be to him getting expelled, again. How would he react to their reaction? Would they punish him? What kind of punishment would he get? Would they no longer support him financially? Would he get a butt whoopin’? Would they cut him off/disown him? Would they be indifferent because, they’re numb still from experiencing the death of child? Would he call them big phonies? Cut them off and leave home for good? Would he spew his feelings about being depressed? Would they yell, scream, fight? What?!
I read the entire book in anticipation for these gritty, specific – and all things considered, possibly insignificant – details and, I felt extremely let down in the end.
I mean, I’ve never actually thrown a book before, I don’t think. But, it crossed my mind whilst finishing this one.
After turning the last page, I exhaled loudly and thought for awhile. And by awhile, I mean a few days. Lol
Holden – in all his petulance – makes a true case.
Most adults are “phony”.
We kinda have to be to live in this world, find success, and get along well with other people.
I’m not saying we have to be outright fakers and liars, but you can’t be completely and candidly authentic all the time if you actually care about other people and their feelings, and have a regard for consequences. Or can you?
• If you thought your daughter-in-law was a terrible cook, could you frankly say so at Thanksgiving dinner over her house?
• If you believed you could do a better job at your bosses job, would you tell him/her directly?
• If you felt bored to death at an event where your host and others were having the grandest of times, should you yawn loudly and yell (to no one in particular) that you’re having the worst time ever?
I don’t know. I’d imagine a person whose never, ever “phony” to be unpleasant to be around…But at the same time, kinda refreshing. It’s like…Holden. Lol Oh my goodness, it’s exactly like Holden! Lol So annoying, but genuine.
Not being 100% authentic isn’t being “phony” without reason. Or is it? I mean, there’s a such thing as empathy and graciousness, no? I don’t know.
Back to the story.
Holden doesn’t give a lot of specifics about his “lousy childhood” and upbringing, and why he feels so damn depressed. So, the reader is pretty much left to infer scenarios.
I gathered that:
- Holden had been molested by his father. He tells us about his dream to someday do something. I can’t remember specifically what it was, but he doesn’t mention his dad at all in the dream. He mentions himself, his mother, and his little sister Phoebe. Why no dad? He also said something to the effect of “that kind of thing happened to me like twenty times since I was a kid” when he woke up and freaked because, his teacher Mr. Antolini was stroking his hair as he slept. He also mentions something about perverts always being perverty when he’s around.
Side note: I also thought that James Castle had been molested by Mr. Antolini and that’s why he committed suicide (and why Mr. Antolini was the only person to come and cover his dead body after he jumped from the window).
- Holden was in some sort of mental institution because, at the end he mentioned a “psychoanalyst” and being some place to get better? I imagined him telling us his whole story from within those walls.
Holden was annoying, funny, and at times so honest but, he could’ve been making everything up (he says that he’s an “incredibly liar” earlier in the book, so it’s hard to believe any part of what he says. Even him saying that he’s a liar!)
Did you like this book? Hate it? What did you take away from it? Let me know in the comments.
In other – yet related – news…I had the flu and learned a new word while reading this book.
Grippe. Such a fun word! I joked around with it a lot and told my Husband, “Don’t come too close, I got grippe!” I really did, if you want to know the truth. Lol