Review: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

9780241950432To be totally honest, I found The Catcher in the Rye a bit of a grind. While I admired J.D. Salinger’s insight into teenage life — who didn’t feel alienated and angry at the world at one point or another during their adolescence — I found Holden Caulfield to be the most infuriating character. Which is odd, when you think about it: his discontent and cantankerousness, so vividly portrayed by Salinger, are traits I can absolutely relate to: but in this case, I found them irritating.

Maybe my apathy is linked to the fact I’ve read so many stories about characters who’ve unashamedly rejected societal values and parental pressures in order to chase their dreams, and the casual, conversational narrative style is now a stalwart of most YA fiction. It’s only when I truly thought about the context of The Catcher in the Rye — it’s publication in post-WWII America, when individuality wasn’t approved or celebrated, and people were expected to exist within an established framework — that I appreciated its impact. So while it’s not a book I’ll rush out to read again any time soon, it’s one I’m so glad I finally got around to. I wish it had been an ascribed text at school: reading it in my teenage years, when I struggled to fit in and understand my place in the world, might’ve had a cathartic effect. Then again, I had a habit of not reading the books assigned to us . . .

ISBN: 9780241950432
Format: Paperback (198mm x 129mm x 15mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: Penguin Books Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 4-Mar-2010
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

 

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