Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

catcher_in_the_rye_coverI’m sure many other bloggers-along with myself- have read The Catcher in the Rye in our English classes. The Catcher in the Rye is the story of Holden Caulfield- a lost, confused, and depressed teenager who struggles to find hope after a traumatic experience. Holden believes that he presents himself as confident and “suave,” but instead the reader sees his insecurities. Although this book has been banned from public schools previously for its “adult” content, I found that many people have enjoyed reading it.

First, I’ll mention my favorite things about this book. I love the unique writing style that Salinger gives Holden. It’s easy for today’s teens to read this book that was written in the 1950s because of Holden’s slang and habits. (Not to mention it was the perfect book to read after Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities! That’s some language to decipher 😉 My favorite character, however, is Holden’s younger sister Phoebe. Even though she is introduced late in the novel, the reader can see that she has a special place in Holden’s heart. She is around ten years old, intelligent, creative, and independent. She also acts as Holden’s mother since their own mother becomes a nervous wreck after the terrible event. I just love reading the parts with Holden and Phoebe because his character changes completely and you can tell that he truly loves and wants to protect his little sister.

Some parts of the book are definitely mature because Holden falls into bad habits when in a state of depression, but I do think that these situations contribute to the story. This book deals with many issues including: depression, suicide, loneliness, and phonies. Holden constantly tells the reader how much he hates phonies (people who act a certain way to get what they want or to please others) and yet as the story progresses he too tells little lies and exaggerates to build up his character.

All in all, I recommend this book for high schoolers (as this is a mature read) because it makes you look at life in a new perspective. Salinger’s book steps outside the box and causes you to think about yourself and others, have more respect for people, and accept others’ differences from a popular society.

~Kelsey H., 10th grade

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