The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

January 5, 2011
By asdfgloria BRONZE, Garden Grove, California
asdfgloria BRONZE, Garden Grove, California
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The Catcher in the Rye Book Review
Imagine getting kicked out of a prestigious, boarding school due to failing all your classes. Imagine having to go home and explain this to your parents. In The Catcher in the Rye, a novel by J.D. Salinger, the main character—Holden Caulfield—must do exactly this. This novel, published in 1951 by Little, Brown and Company, shows the adventures of a confused, teenage boy wandering in the streets of New York to avoid going home to his parents. The reader of this book will encounter many interesting people. Some will be violent roommates, impatient prostitutes, and money hungry pimps. The Catcher in the Rye is like no book I have ever read before; it portrays Holden as a relatable, teenage boy still in his adolescent stages and it was a very interesting read.
The book follows a blunt, young adult who gets kicked out of his school for failing all but one of his classes. He fears what his parents will say to him, so he wanders around New York City, trying to put off seeing his parents—bearing this terrible news. After getting into a physical fight with his athletic (ex) roommate, Holden leaves and takes a train to New York. During his New York stay, he encounters three women in a bar and his first prostitute. He also gets into a physical altercation with a pimp. On a lighter note, he wonders about the girl who he seems to like very much, but unfortunately, he never acts upon this. After his New York City experience, he returns home to talk to his sister, Phoebe, and realizes that he should focus on making himself happy before he grows older.
The Catcher in the Rye was an easy and entertaining read. Holden was very easy to understand and the way he spoke was more modern than books schools usually assign. His adventures, and misadventures, were funny and left me with a satisfied feeling. The book made me laugh, and at times, almost cry. The book also left me confused once or twice, but those times just made the book even more interesting. I would laugh at the way Holden would speak about people; he often called everyone a “phony.” I felt like crying when he spoke about the girl he likes, Jane. I would have liked the book a little bit more if he had just called Jane and talked to her. I was confused with his encounter with the pimp, but felt that it was a very funny scene to include in the book. Although the book may seem very funny, I believe there is a deeper meaning to Salinger’s portrayal of the care free, teenage boy. I felt the book’s main purpose was to show that young people should do what makes them happy, because happiness is what measures one’s success, not money or possessions. I agree with Salinger in that teenagers often look at exterior things and tend to not focus on what’s at heart. The book was also good for seeing how Holden matured by his experiences, which is common in teenagers today. Everyone learns and grows wiser from everything they do, and this book portrays just that.
This novel gave me a different outlook on what I should focus on in my teenage years. The Catcher in the Rye taught me to do things that make me happy and not to stress over things that have little importance to me. I would suggest this novel to every teenager who is confused about themselves or just want to read something entertaining. Holden’s mind and thoughts are relatable and the way Salinger portrays him gives him a deeper side, other than just being a person who doesn’t care what others think. The Catcher in the Rye was an entertaining book with the deeper moral of creating your own happiness which will lead to your success.

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