So I picked up this book at random from a bookstore because the title “The Catcher in the Rye” was interesting and I was told that it was a good book. I like classics and old books, a lot. I like the way they transport you in an era you could never see in real. And that was another reason that I got this book as I thought its an old classic!
This book is about a 17 year old boy who struggles staying in a school and has just been expelled from another one. He stays in a hostel and has a few days before he goes back home for Christmas and for good. The book is about what this boy, thinks, does, meets in these fews days before he goes back. Some events were quite adventurous in a way. He doesn’t want to go to another school or at home and thinks of leaving everyone and going away somewhere in the west and live there. However, before going away for good, he wants to meet his young sister who he is close to and that kind of changes him and his plans.
This was the strangest book I ever read. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with this book. In fact, I didn’t particularly love it! Three chapters down, I was already wondering what this book is all about. I kept my patience because I believe some books take a little time to get to the point. Half way down, I was quite annoyed but I still kept on reading in a hope that at some point it will all make sense. The book gets slightly interesting towards the end when Holden, the protagonist, goes to meet his sister and then his old teacher. It was only in the last paragraph that the book sort of made a little sense actually.
The character of the protagonist kind of displays the complex mental struggle that a teenager goes through. He is mostly confused about himself and about others. His thoughts keeps wandering and conflicting. The entire book will sound like blabbering and whining, it did to me! Many times, what he says about other people, when he calls them “phony”, kind of makes sense and we might agree to him but at the same time, its quite excess of it! He calls almost everyone “phony” and everything depresses him. He feels lonely because he can’t seem to like anyone but he still wants their company to just to avoid feeling lonely.
He is confused what he wants to do in his future, none of the professions make sense to him. When his sister asks him “Tell me even one thing that you like”, I immediately wanted to do a Hi 5 with her! And it was because if his sister only that he finds his happiness and purpose. That was the only point in the book when he was happy. The entire book felt quite negative and pessimistic with a strange sense of morality. I could see the boy was right at many places about many things, but he was too negative and pessimistic and very annoying.
I didn’t really enjoy this book, I finished it only because of my curiosity and with a hope that it will all make sense in the end. I didn’t even find funny like others did! It was mostly annoying to me! The most annoying part was the language. I really don’t like the American slang language and that is absolutely personal, no offense to anyone. It was the language that made the read even more difficult for me. The effect was such that by the time I finished it, I caught a few words. I then had to make a conscious effort to avoid using them in my day to day conversation. Later, I found out that the book was banned at many places and due to several reasons and one of them was “Excessive vulgar language”.
To conclude, I will say that a book must be always read to know if you will like it or not. My review is based on my personal experience with the book and it is not necessary that you will have the same. You might actually enjoy it, and perhaps relate to it too! I wouldn’t call it an absolute waste of time because I firmly believe every book has at least one thing that you can learn, or remember or take away from and that makes the book worth it. I’ll leave you with this quote that the old teacher of the boy quoted to him and I will always remember – “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.” 🙂