Review: The Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the Ryby J.D. Salinger

Published May 1991 by Little, Brown (first published July 16th 1951)

Genre: Classics | Fiction | Young Adult

Recommended to: those who identify with Holden 

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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.

REVIEW

Warning: If you’re a fan of The Catcher in the Rye, please don’t get angry with me. We all have our preferences and sadly, this book isn’t to my liking. This review is merely my opinion. 😊

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

There is a reason a book is a classic but in this case, I didn’t see it.

I believe this is one of those books that you either love or you don’t. There’s no in between.

I set my expectations high for this. I’ve been carrying this book with me and THRICE I have been told that it is good. Sadly, I’m one of the people who didn’t think so.

Honestly, there were a lot of things I didn’t like about this book.

  1. Holden Caulfield. He is annoying and I know I am not alone in this. I admit that sometimes he is funny but he just keeps going on about how something “depresses him” or “kills him”. To me, the whole book felt like a rant. Maybe that’s the point and I’ve missed it but don’t you eventually get tired of reading it?
  2. The Plot. Is there even a plot? I feel like an unwilling friend that Holden dragged along with him in his journey. Almost like when a friend tells you about something that happened to him and you have to sit there and listen because he’s your friend. That’s exactly what I felt. Even when I finished the book, the point is still unclear to me. The only thing I got from this book were the words of wisdom from Mr. Antolini.
  3. The writing. Maybe some people think this book is easy to read because of the writing style but it did the opposite for me. There’s just too many repetitive phrases and it frustrated me so much.
  4. Page 92. Very specific, I know. But here’s the part that kind of pissed me off.
    “The thing is, most of the time when you’re coming pretty close to doing it with a girl–a girl that isn’t a prostitute or anything, I mean–she keeps telling you to stop. The trouble with me is, I stop. Most guys don’t. I can’t help it. You never know whether they really want you to stop, or whether they’re just scared as hell, or whether they’re just telling you to stop so that if you do go through with it, the blame’ll be on you, not them. Anyway, I keep stopping. The trouble is, I get to feeling sorry for them. I mean most girls are so dumb and all. After you neck them for a while, you can really watch them losing their brains. You take a girl when she really gets passionate, she just hasn’t any brains.”

    I don’t want to sound petty but I can’t ignore Holden’s prejudice either.

I thought hard on whether I should review this one or skip it. I’ve read that this book has changed lives so some might feel passionately about it.  It is a classic book which kind of made me question myself for not liking it. But you can’t please everyone and you can’t like every single book you read.

I believe this book is for people who identify with Holden and I’m one of those who didn’t. Maybe it’s less about the book but more on the person reading it.

To look at this from a different perspective, I love this answer from a Goodreads user on why this book is considered a classic.

Untitled

In the end, it all goes down to how you view this book. It is clearly not for everyone and something that’s not read for the sole purpose of enjoyment (which was my mistake).

What did you think about this book? Feel free to share them in the comments below. 😊

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7 thoughts on “Review: The Catcher in the Rye

  1. I’ve been trying to set my mind to this book and just start it… but something’s been holding me back every time. Reading your thought on it gives me some insight on what to expect since I always thought it would deal with depression in some tense and dark ways, and I tend to stay away from books like that nowadays.

    Thanks for the review! It’s refreshing, I must admit, to know there’s someone out there who hasn’t fallen in love with this book and gives me a POV of a one-star rating.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read this one yet but I think you’re right, you’ll either love or hate The Catcher in the Rye. It’s a classic and many people will relate to Holden’s rebellious nature. Others will frown upon it. That Goodreads review was spot-on, though. Sometimes books have a certain significance because of the time they were released. Anytime after that and they won’t have the same revolutionary feel to them. It’s not very relatable to people nowadays, I guess, because it’s not as scandalous. Although that quote from page 92 sounds awful and bordering on rapey.
    Great post! 🙂

    Like

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