Newest Review: ... spoilers I won't discuss the plot in any great length, but I will discuss the themes and other aspects of the book below. THOUGHTS Reada... more
Member Name: tinymontgomery
The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger
Advantages: Perfect dialogue, wonderfully written
Disadvantages: Read it when you're a teenager!
The Catcher in the Rye is Salinger's best-known work, and that's a shame, because it's not his best. It's a good novel, and no doubt at the time of its publication it was a revelation, but it's not a novel that is fit for all ages. I first read it when I was a teenager, roughly the same age as Holden Caulfield, the protagonist, and I loved it - but ten years later, now I'm in my late twenties, the problems Holden identifies in this novel seem immature and slightly besides-the-point. A disillusioned young person should have bigger fish to fry - like those that Franny fries in Franny and Zooey, a much more thoughtful and philosophical disection of disillusionment and faith. (And apologies for the fish-based analogy there.)
I won't go into the plot, because most people know it, and besides, there isn't much of one - a teenager boy is expelled from school and spends a few days on his own in a freezing New York winter, struggling to find what is "real" and what is "phony" in the world. That's about it as far as plot goes.
It's brilliantly written, and contains some wonderful characters, and as ever with Salinger, the dialogue is second-to-none. And it is a great novel, and it will always hold a special place in my heart, but I suspect it's only a great novel if you read it at the right time - as a teenager. Read it when you're much older, and you might wonder what all the fuss is about.
Summary: A classic, but not Salinger's best