Book: The Catcher in the Rye
Release date: January 30, 2001
Publisher: Bay Back Books
“…the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.”
Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.
This is my favorite book of all time. Hands down. Nothing can compete with this book, and let me tell you why. It’s not just the choppy, teenage boyish writing, or the crazy adventure in a land full of phonies, or even the awkward moments of discovering one’s sexuality, although all of these things bring this book to life, it is the amount of similarity I see between me and Holden Caulfield, and my sister, and his sister. This story could have very well been me a few years ago, in a stage where I was confused about life, and didn’t know where I belonged. Daydreaming about fantasies, and unwilling to see the people who were out there to help. The story of Holden Caulfield is a journey of a boy in which you as a reader get to grow with him, and experience the real, authentic world for how fake it may seem. Teenagers or anyone at that time who had a mental illness were just isolated, or thrown out, with no real place they could call their own. In this book, the journey to the museum and the experiences of New York shows and bars, it all gives the readers a taste of what comes with growing up, while still having a tiny plea for remaining in one’s youth, because the real world is scary. I don’t think I even have to say I recommend this, because it’s a classic, and a wonderful, well rounded, and adventurous story. Disclaimer: There are a lot of curse words used, but it is done for a reason, but just in case you don’t like to read books with those, I just wanted to inform you.)