Customer Review

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I hope this book catches your eye ..., 23 Dec 2004
This review is from: The Catcher in the Rye (Paperback)
"The catcher in the rye" is the story of some days in Holden Caulfied's life, as he tells it in the hospital where he was taken after his "meltdown". In his own words, "I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy".
The plot is quite simple, mainly what happens when a particularly sensitive teenager gets kicked out of school, and decides to travel alone a little bit instead of just telling his parents what happened. However, even if the main premise is common enough, the way it is delivered is what makes this book so special that it has become a classic. Salinger makes us get to know Holden, giving the reader interesting insights into his musings, likes and dislikes (yeah, generally mostly dislikes).
You want some examples?. For instance, and regarding teachers, he says that "You can't stop a teacher when they want to do something. They just do it". Or when he starts to think about the things we say over and over again, without giving them any actual meaning: "I'm always saying `Glad to `ve met you` to somebody I'm not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though".
Holden's views are interesting, and different readers will interpret them in diverse ways, specially if their age isn't the same. To teenagers, Holden reflects the highs and lows they have to deal with, and their struggle with the "phony world" of adults that sometimes seems so weird, so wrong. To adults, Holden is a part of themselves that they somehow lost with the years, the innocence and the shock before things they have grown accustomed to with time.
There are quite a few symbols in this book, but you will able to understand it even if you don't know a thing about symbology (or aren't interested in it). Despite that, I'd like to share with you a specially important symbol, the catcher in the rye that gives this book its title. Holden wants to be the catcher in the rye when he grows up: "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around--nobody big, I mean--except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff--I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going. I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be." . He doesn't know why, he just wants to come out from somewhere and catch little children before they fall from the cliff. In a way, that shows how much he wants to preserve their innocence, against a phony world that tries to corrupt them...
I really liked this book, and I found it engaging and very easy to read. I'm not from USA, so I didn't have to read it as obligatory reading material for school, but I ended up reading it all the same mainly out of curiosity because many of my American friends recommended it to me. After reading "The catcher in the rye", I must say that they were right, and I would like to recommend this book to you, if you haven't read it yet. And if you are forced to read it for school, please JUST GIVE IT AN OPPORTUNITY. I know it is hateful having to read something merely because someone says so, but in this case that will work to your advantage... What can I say?. This book, unlike so many others, is really WORTH YOUR TIME.
Belen Alcat
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