J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” has been read in high schools for the past 70 years. What makes the Catcher in the Rye popular today? It is the way that teenagers can still find some sort of way to relate to the main character, Holden Caulfield. It tells the story of a 16 year old boy and his adventures in New York City after getting kicked out of boarding school. Holden stresses over having to tell his parents that he failed most of his classes. He decides to take off to New York City for a few days.
I liked the book because it feels like Holden is having a conversation directly with you. The slang words are totally different to how people talk today. However, you can still relate to Holden because of his openness about his feelings of insecurity, struggles with anxiety and fear of the future. The story has a lot of themes from rebellion, belonging, family, grief and mental health.
Everyone faces different issues in high school from wanting to excel academically to a desire to belong and connect. Even though we communicate totally different today because of social media, some of the issues that Holden faces are the same. I would recommend this book to high school students because it talks about mental health in an honest way. You get the feeling that Holden eventually gets the help that he needs. The Catcher in the Ryes encourages those who are struggling to find a person that you feel comfortable talking to like a parent, teacher, counselor or friend.
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.