Title: The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J. D. Salinger
Publisher: Penguin Books
Price: 350 INR/ U.K. £5.99
‘The Catcher in the Rye’ is a modern classic based on the estranged feelings that the teenagers have. The protagonist of the novel is an ‘icon for teenage rebellion’. The novel has been listed as one of the best works of the 20th century.
About the Author
J. D. Salinger was an American writer. He is known for his only novel- The Catcher in the Rye, which became an immediate success. Besides this novel, Salinger has written a number of short stories & a few novellas. Though he has produced only one novel, he is one of the most influential writer of the 20th century.
You may like it or you may not…
The novel captures teenage angst through the protagonist- Holden Caulfield, who is thrown out from his school. It is not the first time that he is thrown out from his school. So, the story basically follows Holden as he spends 3 days in New York, before going to his home.
The novel is all about what Holden does, what he has done and what he wants to do. And what he wants is, to be ‘a catcher in the rye’. By being a catcher in the rye, he means to save children from falling off the brink, that is, to save children from losing their innocence & identity in this adult dominated world.
Holden as a character is very interesting to read about. All the things that he does made me fall in love with his character. For instance, he wonders what happens to the ducks that swim in the lake, during the winters, when the lake freezes. He asks this question to a number of persons. Then he asks for a girl in his room, but is unable to have fun with her. He is indeed, a very fascinating character
The novel is written in subjective (personal) style, from Holden’s point of view. I feel the writing style of the novel is something that can be irritating for some readers. However, I enjoyed reading it. It can be irritating because the whole novel is written in the same manner. Here is an excerpt from the text:
“… Finally I sat down on this bench, where it wasn’t so goddam dark. Boy, I was still shivering like a bastard, and the back of my hair, even though I had my hunting hat on, was sort of full of little hunks of ice. That worried me. I thought probably I’d get pneumonia and die. I started picturing millions of jerks coming to my funeral and all. …”
You might have enjoyed reading this small excerpt, but imagine reading the whole novel written in this way. So, you can see whether you will enjoy the book or not. The use of slang can also be pestering to some readers. Besides the unvaried writing style & the use of slang, there are a number of words & phrases that keep recurring in the text. So, some people might not like all this.
The ending is somewhat disappointing. I was expecting something concrete. But to my dismay, it ended just like any other chapter of the novel.
Teenagers can relate to Holden in some respect. I feel every reader will enjoy reading this book, provided they like the writing style.
My Rating: ****(4/5)
What do you think about this novel? Have you read it before? Do you feel like picking it up? What about the excerpt that I have quoted here? Do share your thoughts. Thanks. 🙂