Something I am sure we can all relate to are the struggles with facing the reality of teenage life. This crucial point in our lives can be seen as the final step away from childhood, but is the adult life really as wonderful as teenagers make it out to be?
According the Holden Caulfield, a sixteen-year-old boy struggling to cope with the death of his brother, the adult-world is full to the brim with disgusting “phonies.” His narration of his experiences begins after being expelled from school because he failed four of his five classes. Thinking he might as well experience the world before it is too late, Holden decides to leave for New York a few days before his parents are assigned to take him back home. From taking taxis, hanging in bars, and going on dates, Holden comes to realize that the adulthood is a dangerous, dark reality and is not as perfect as one may think.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is a classic coming-of-age novel that depicts one adolescent’s interesting experiences with love, life, and maturity. Holden can seem a little too critical and may complain excessively at times, but I found it especially touching that even among of all of his pessimism, Holden really does have sensitive feelings and cares for the younger children, whose innocence he wants to preserve forever. Every teenager can relate to his journey that involves him finding himself as a true individual. The criticism and cynicism towards society, as well as the confusion of growing up, is similar to the thoughts of adolescents as they mature and pass into adulthood. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I was able to connect to many of the human emotions Holden experiences. The writing is simple and easy to understand, yet the underlying meaning is so deep, empowering, and compelling. There are some mature concepts mentioned throughout, but I absolutely recommend this book to anyone over the age of fourteen. A timeless novel, The Catcher in the Rye is surely one of those books that are a must-read for everyone, teenagers and adults alike.
The Catcher in the Rye is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library.