I’ve tried with this series to look at things objectively and from a entertainment mindset. I am not able to do that with the following review and my bias is clearly shown. With that in mind I present you with my review of Catcher in the Rye.
J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is one of the only books I’ve ever vowed to never read again. Now I’ve read it twice. I’m a sadist. This book has to inspire more whiny emo band lyrics than any other source. It is dreadful. For those of you who weren’t forced to read this book in high school, it’s about Holden Caulfield and the days following his expulsion from a prep school. It is often praised as a love letter to New York City, showing the vibrant and colorful nature of the city. Holden is often referenced as a symbol of teenage rebellion and angst, capturing the feeling we all had in high school. This book has been banned multiple times for the language and its’ reference in several crimes.
I’ll start off with the positives, I love the style of writing Salinger implements here. The narrative, places you precisely where the protagonist is and allows the reader to see through their eyes and understand their handling of every situation. The author’s concise and well executed methods keep the book easy to navigate and allows the reader to quickly digest every instance.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, fuck Holden Caulfield. As a matter of fact, fuck anyone who claims this as a piece of art that shouldn’t be besmirched. This book is one of the most arduous and least enjoyable things I’ve ever read. If it is meant to be an indictment of adolescents or force you to hate all spoiled teenagers, job well done.
I cannot be alone in this, as a point of experiment, I had my wife try to read this book and she was done after about three chapters. It is a ponderous read, filled with self indulgent whimpers by the main character. He is a walking buzz kill, unhappy by every single aspect of his life and when presented with an opportunity to improve it he just complains all the more.
I hated this book. I found little enjoyment from it outside the narrative used the brevity in which I was able to complete it. What confounds me more that anything is how this book is held in such high esteem. The pedigree of excellence heaved upon this work blows my mind. Maybe I’m too dim witted to understand the implications inside it’s covers, but this goddamn book holds no enjoyment for me.
I cannot and will not recommend this book. If it were just a story I didn’t enjoy, I’d happily tell you. Literature is subjective, I understand that. The amount of universal praise this work finds itself in is misguided and I do not consider it a classic or even an enjoyable read. I almost find it offensive this book is held in the same regard as works of Hemingway and Chaucer. If you must read something I’d reach for the instructions on your toaster oven before cracking the cover on this drivel.