The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

January 23, 2010
Alright, so I know The Catcher in the Rye's supposed to be this great American classic coming of age story. I know English teachers across the country are going to be up at arms after reading this review. I know, but I'm sorry. I'm sorry to say that if it weren't for the reputation it enjoys and the time I invested waiting for this book to get better, I'd have never finished it, and I'm a kid who hates to put down a book. Don't get me wrong. It wasn't entirely without its merits. The style was probably remarkably innovative in its time, and it's certainly very enjoyable in small doses. On occasion, though, it crosses the thin line from conversational to awkwardly worded. An English teacher told me that's just Holden's character coming through. Unfortunately, that brings me to my next point. I may be missing something, because everyone else in the world seems to identify with this kid like none other, like he's their long lost brother, but I don't. I found him annoying, whiny, and as hypocritical as the phonies he decries all through the book. Even worse, I found him, the story's narrator-protagonist fairly flat, static and stagnant, which is understandable, since until the closing chapters of this book, the plot goes absolutely nowhere. In quick conclusion before the literary lynch mob beats down my door, I can't bring myself to recommend this book to anyone except someone like me looking to understand its place in literary history.

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AnonReader said...
Feb. 11, 2010 at 10:11 pm
ITA! Having heard of the book for years, I finally picked it up to see what all the fuss was about, and I still don't get it. I kept reading, thinking "It's gotta get better", but IMO, it never did
ajibike This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 8, 2010 at 7:48 pm
I'm pretty sure Holden is supposed to come off as "whiny" and "phony." That's the irony. I found the book enjoyable, eye-opening, and quite parallel to how the human race experiences life, and even how the idealists fall short of their Utopian ideas.
Sometimes it's better to finish a book before condemning it. I'd say give it another go. You may be surprised.
ThermadorianGrey replied...
Feb. 9, 2010 at 11:42 am
I did in fact finish it. And no matter what kind of irony you're going for, in my opinion, you always need a sympathetic protagonist, which Holden certainly wasn't.
Toe_The_Line replied...
Feb. 21, 2010 at 6:06 pm
I agree with ajibike, that was the irony of it. I can see why not everyone would identify with Holden, because he's depressed and he has a certain outlook on things. If you don't share that outlook,you're not going to get it.
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