Monday, May 30, 2011

Catcher in the Rye

Catcher in the Rye, J.D Salinger

Bought the book on a whim to participate in the Young Adults Fiction book club at my local favorite bookstore. The book after this one is The Book Thief, which I'd love to sit in on, but I decided to test them all out with this one first.

I read the entire book on Sunday. There's such an amount of success that accompanies finishing an entire book in one day, even if it's technically a "kid" (young adult) book (although Wikipedia pointed out to me it's a novel that was originally intended for adults). When I started it, I remembered that it was the only (assigned) book I read between junior and senior year (I was an angsty high schooler, I'll admit), and my best friend expected me to really like the book. She thought it'd resonate with me, but instead it really irritated me. I couldn't explain to her why, at the time, though.

I think I can now, but first: this time through, I really liked it. Okay. Now I think back then i didn't because first off, the narrative style irritated me--I couldn't get into the stream-of-concious flow back then. Also, I couldn't lose the awareness that an adult wrote the book, and if felt strange to think an adult wrote that book, and from a kid's perspective. And lastly, the book did resonate with me--and that was part of the problem. I understood what he meant, about "phonies" and the masks people wear and how frustrating it is to watch people, even (especially) yourself, act so fake. I think the thing was that while he found certain people redeemable, I hadn't gotten to that yet. And because I resonated so strongly with Holden back then, the ending was so bitterly disappointing.

I haven't lost that perspective, and there are days where the Holden in me just can't stomach it, but I feel like I've rounded out a lot more since high school (thank GOD), so while his observations are right, it doesn't meant hey tell the whole story. And when the picture gets a little bigger, it includes happier (more acceptable, tonic-like) components in it.

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