The Catcher In The Rye By J.D Salinger: Book Review

catcher in the rye
The Catcher in the Rye

Book: The catcher in the Rye

Author: J.D Salinger

Pages: Rs. 399

Publications: Penguin India

Plot: Set in 1950’s, this book is about a teenage (a 16 years old) boy Holden Caulfield. Holden narrates his story in his own style, using language which teenagers usually use to show themselves cool, using words like ‘fucking’ and many other ‘abusive words’ ;-). He also has this habit of moving from one topic to another that too without completing the first one, the reason he gave to this is ‘I am not really in the mood.’ He tries his best to be cool, he attempts to get alcohol from clubs, to impress girls and many other things. In short, Holden represents a teenager perfectly.

So Holden studies in ‘Pencey’ school situated in Pennsylvania. He has failed in 4 out 5 subjects. Because of this reason he got expelled from school. But this is not the only school from which he has been expelled. He has been expelled from many schools earlier.

He has his last few days left in His school when his History teacher calls him to his house so that he can bid farewell to Holden and also tries his best to encourage Holden to study hard. Holden went there, but he was not in the mood to hear a lecture. So he made an excuse and ran away from there.

Back in the hostel, he was irritated by one of his classmate Ackley and then his roommate Stradlater, who went on a date with one of Holden’s friends whom Holden use to like. As Stradlater is a charmer he was not comfortable with him going on a date with Jane Gallagher. So he had a dispute with him. After this dispute, Holden decides to leave school at night only. He decided that he will not go to his house instead, he will stay in a hotel. As his parents still did not know about his expulsion.

So he takes a train and reaches New York. Next two days were strenuous for him, living alone in Hotel, having nothing to do, he spends his money on cabs, drinks, etc. He even called a prostitute, but he was so innocent that he wanted to talk to her first and later he was not in the mood.

Thoughts of suicide and a totally useless guy keep coming to his mind now and then.

Merely in two days he got broke and went back to his home, but not to stay there, but to meet his little sister Pheobe whom he adores a lot. There he met her and borrowed some money from her. Leaving his house he still did not know what he should do, and then he had an idea. He decided that he will go somewhere far and find a job, he will act like a deaf and dumb, so that he would not be forced to talk to any ‘stupid person’.

But He also decided to Meet Pheobe and say goodbye to her. He went to her school and met her. What happened next? Did he actually go away? No, I am not going to tell you that. Find it yourself if it interests you.

My views: I like how the Holden narrated his story. I actually felt like as if there is a teenage boy sitting in front of me and telling me his story. And while telling his story this teenage boy has assumed many things that ‘we know’ about, jumping from one topic to another one, because he is not in the mood to talk about it.

The book is really good, the way it is written all teenagers will find it very easy to relate to Holden.  A teenage boy who does not know what he wants to do in future, what are the things which actually interests him, and what he wants to do in life, all this is very vague for him.

But I guess this became a drawback of the book for me. As it was written from a teenage boy’s point of view I could not relate to it. At some point, I even felt like why am I reading random events of the narrator’s life. Maybe if I would have read this book in my teens I could have related to Holden. But at this point, I believe the timing was not perfect.

Though I would say that the book is really good, and if you have a teenage brother or sister who is depressed gift him/her this book. It will help them a lot. In the end, I would just remark that book is perfect for a teenager.

Recommendations: As said earlier, if you are a teenager go for this book.

Ratings: 3/5

Komal Bagri
A traveler and a bookworm at heart, Komal Bagri has explored many destinations across India. But that never seems to be enough and she’s always ready to hit the road again. Her obsession for travel is combined with a love for books. She is currently working as a Content Developer at an eminent press.

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