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Book Review | The Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the Rye is a book that, for some unknown reason, sits on my shelves for years and years. Whenever I looked at it I would remember that I should probably read it, but I was always unsure if I really wanted to.
I had heard countless mixed things about it. People usually either love it and find it a powerful piece of literature, while others absolutely hate it. I didn't know where exactly I would rank on the love/hate scale.

I was actually surprised at how much I actually liked this book when I finally did end up reading it.

I think I decided to read it during the perfect time in my life. I was just feeling upset and frustrated with everything and everyone at the time I first picked this book up, and I instantly found a kindred spirit in the crazy, cynical Holden Caulfield... I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not...

He tells it how it is, and doesn't sugar coat anything in his narrative. If he thinks that someone is an idiot, he'll tell you exactly why. I actually found myself laughing out loud at some of the things Holden says, which doesn't happen often when I'm reading. His voice is refreshing, and I just couldn't hate him, despite the fact that he can be quite a jerk at times.

The Catcher in the Rye is a short read, but nothing really happens in it... there is only the faintest glimmer of a plot or story. It is mostly just Holden's stream of consciousness as he stalls in New York. It is fun and entertaining at first, reading all of his thoughts on everything that's going on, but after awhile, it all sounds the same and his cynicism gets kind of old.

I'm not one to criticize a notable, famous author, but I feel like this whole narrative could've been condensed into a short story or something. Even at 250 pages, it felt long and a bit dragged out at times.

I feel like I'm somewhere in the middle with The Catcher in the Rye. I don't really love it or hate it exactly.
I can definitely see how this book is considered a classic. Holden makes you think in between his whining and complaining. There are some very thought provoking themes on childhood and growing up that he brings up, which is all interesting.
While I probably won't necessarily read it again, I'm very glad I did.
I think that everyone should at least give this book a chance and take what they can from it.
“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.” 
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

10 comments

  1. I felt the same way when I read it...I didn't love it, but I didn't completely hate it. Great review! <3

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    1. Yeah it can definitely a conflicting book.
      Thank you, Clara!

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  2. I haven't read this yet-- I really should, because there a ton of "classics" I haven't read yet (i.e. To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, etc.) but I'm getting to! This one I'm kind of wary about because I heard there's a ton of swearing which makes me cringe a ton every time.

    xoxo Abigail Lennah

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    1. Oh yes, there is a fair amount of swearing. I forgot to mention that. I'm sort of desensitized to swearing in literature, honestly. But I understand the pressures of needing to read more classics.

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  3. Oooh! I remember reading this and liking it though I don't remember that much to be honest!

    I don't think I was depressed at the time while I read the book and I remembered laughing a lot while reading it.

    Have you read Solitaire by Alice Oseman? If you haven't, it's said to be quite similar to this!

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    1. I found myself laughing while I was reading as well. Holden's voice is so unique!
      I'll have to check that book out!

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  4. It's interesting to hear your thoughts on this book. I know this book has been hailed as a classic but the only person I've talked to that has remembered this book, said she didn't like it at all. After hearing that person speak, I have been cautious about the book ever since.

    When I asked my mom about the book, she said if she ever read it in school, she's forgotten it. This led me to wonder is this book very memorable and is it worth the time reading? What do you think?

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    1. I can see how this could be a very forgettable book. Like I said before, it's very weak plot wise, but the themes are memorable, which is why, I think, it is known as a classic. I definitely think it's worth the read. It's the kind of book I think you really need to read for yourself to figure out if you like it or not.

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  5. This exact copy is on my shelf to read! Haha.

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