Ah, The Catcher in the Rye. J.D. Saligner’s classic novel about…well…what exactly is it about, anyway?
That’s a difficult question to answer. In one sentence: It’s about a teenage boy named Holden Caulfield who gets kicked out of his fancy boarding school right before Christmas break, but he doesn’t want to go home early and have to explain the situation to his parents, so he wanders around New York City for a few days to pass the time. That’s not what the book is really about, though.
In my opinion, this book is about a teenage boy struggling with depression and loneliness, trying to figure out what to do with himself. New York City is just a backdrop for his musings about life, people, and whatever else comes to his mind. I have to be honest, though – this book is not very exciting. It’s not a page turner, and you may even have to force yourself to finish it (I did). There’s a lot of complaining, too (it seems like half the book is just Holden complaining about all the “phonies” in the world). But despite these cons, I found myself with a strange feeling of satisfaction and contentment after finishing The Catcher in the Rye. The satisfaction probably just came from the fact that I had finished the book, but contentment? Where did that come from? My best guess is that it came from the message of hope at the end of the novel (one which also applies to reading The Catcher in the Rye) – that no matter how hard life may seem, it’s always worth it to keep pushing forward.
Review by Callan, teen blogger