Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Book Review #1 "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

I had read The Catcher in the Rye many years ago. I remember enjoying the book, but I couldn't remember the details of the plot, so I decided to re-read the book.

I throughly enjoyed this book. I appreciate the "stream of conscienousness" style of writing - I think I unknowingly compose in this style often. I could follow the author and the main character throughout the book.

This book is the quintessential teenage angst novel. All high school students should be required to read this book. They will identify with Holden Caulfield and his attitude towards "phoniness". I have read about many objections to this book - because of the "dirty" language and "sexual" situations. The "dirty" language is nothing as compared to the words I hear from teenagers on a daily basis - whether or not they know I am listening (or reading). As far as the "sexual" situations described in the book, you would find more explicit situations in a local newscast or a prime-time television program. The people who are so against this book have obviously not read the book - they are basing their opinions on what other people have told them.

The Catcher in the Rye is one of my favorite books - maybe because I can identify with the main character and his attitude toward life as a teenager. It is an easy read. I felt as though the characters in the book were endearing, and I wanted to know what happened to them after the book ended.

One of my favorite quotes is: "The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one [quoted from Wilhelm Stekel]". This was said to Holden by Mr. Antolini towards the end of the book.

The title of the book comes from this quote, said by Holden to his little sister, Phoebe: "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around-nobody big, I mean-except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff-I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy". This means that Holden really wants to do something with his life that helps others and is productive.

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