By Danielle Carpenter
I did not read “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger by choice. Never have I ever said to myself, “I would really love to read that book.” Professor Joe Sharkey recently assigned it to the Journalism 401A review class. I instantly groaned when I read the email saying this was our first assignment.
However, I found myself pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Salinger’s work. Who knew?
I myself knew nothing about this novel, other than that it is a widely read book in high schools across the country. A majority of the reviews I read on Amazon had more five stars then any other review.
This still did not excite me on this assignment, however.
I knew absolutely nothing about J.D Salinger, either. I had never read his work. I had do to some research. What I found was he wrote since secondary school. He was a World War II veteran, and in 1948 published “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” which led to later success. “A Catcher in the Rye” was published in 1951 and was instantly popular. However, after the book was published, the author became reclusive and published less frequently. He did not seek attention. He probably had no idea this book would still be so well-known 60 years later.
“The Catcher in the Rye” has a way of making you feel connected with that particular rebel we once all knew in high school. Whether he was in your history class, your friend may have had a crush on him, or whatever it was, there was always a Holden in our lives growing up. According to a review in the New York Times in 1951 by Nash K. Burger, “Certainly you’ll look a long time before you’ll meet another youngster like Holden Caulfield, as likable and, in spite of his failings, as sound.” I couldn’t agree with this more. There’s something about Holden that makes you love and feel for him.
Here’s a quick synopsis that will make you understand what I mean by this. The scene is set in the 1950’s. The main character is 16-year-old Holden, a troubled teen constantly getting kicked out of school and who is always finding himself in unfortunate situations. We are taken through a series of events and characters in Holden’s life. Some events have a way of striking an irritating chord in you. You sort of think, “Holden, what the hell are you doing?! Why would you put yourself in that situation?” Then again, that’s what makes the book keep a reader’s attention.
The one thing that some may hate about this book is the ending. Personally, I cannot stand when books or movies leave you hanging. When the credits start rolling or the book pages end and I don’t have a full sense of closure, I’m not satisfied. We know nothing about Holden’s plans for future schooling, more on him being sick, nothing. *Mumbles under breath *
As an almost 22-year-old female in college, who enjoys drinking, being with her friends, traveling and yoga, if I enjoyed this 63-year-old book, anyone can. ♦