- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 24 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 16 Nov. 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00A8LRJAA
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Catcher, Caught Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
I read the original Catcher as a teenager in the 1960s, and its achievement in showing the world through the eyes of a mixed-up, fairly modern, teenager had an immense impact on me. Up to then few novels had been written with this focus, certainly very few great novels (Huckleberry Finn is the only one I can think of). Fifty years after the publication of Catcher, the thoughts and experiences of Holden Caulfield help Daniel to make some sense of his nightmare situation. (The trauma Honegger has herself experienced as a cancer sufferer is probably a major reason why she is able to give such an evocative picture of how Daniel feels to have "the Disease", including his grim sense of humour about it.)
Much of the dramatic tension is generated by the outlook of Daniel's parents. As ageing hippies, they are in some ways far more prescriptive than more conventional people. In particular, Daniel's mother steadfastly refuses for him to have chemotherapy, as an unnatural solution, preferring the remedies of "natural medicine".
Although I enjoyed reading this novel, I remain ambivalent about it. Honenberger admits in her Acknowledgments that "writing a teenage boy's story was risky, even after three teenagers of my own". As with, for example, Murdoch's A Word Child or P D James' Children of Men, I was left with doubt as to how convincingly an author can achieve first person narration by a character of the opposite sex. I also felt that some of Daniel's language is more flowery and complex than you would expect from a fifteen year-old who is bright but, on his own admission, not particularly literary.
Overall, Catcher fairly well Caught, but please check out Salinger himself.
However, I still found Catcher, Caught an entertaining and moving book in its own right. It is written in the voice of 15-year-old leukaemia sufferer Daniel, complete with grammatical errors and rather odd phrasing at times, but that doesn't make it clunky or awkward to read. In fact, it's very easy to read, one of those books that grabs you straight away. What surprised me was that the characters were all rather flat initially, certainly not jumping off the page. You'd expect to get quite a strong insight into the perpetrator when the book is written from his perspective, and might also hope to get a good feeling for the other characters since they're being described to you by someone who knows and understands them rather than by that impartial third person. But I found myself quite detached from all of the secondary characters in the book and was even finding it hard to fathom Daniel's own motives at times. Perhaps being acquainted with Holden from Catcher In The Rye would have helped in this respect!
Daniels' parents, especially, I did not only feel detached from but positively disliked. I'm not sure whether this was Honenburger's intention. I may be wrong, but I suspect she wanted us to feel both frustration and sympathy towards his parents. I found it extremely difficult to feel any sympathy towards them at all, despite their dire situation. They not only consistently ignore Daniel's opinions on his treatment but actually hide their own plans from him. His mother is an unyielding fantasist who would rather treat Daniel with lavender than chemotherapy, and his father is too weak to stand up to her balmy ideas. Daniel accepts all this with remarkably placidity and mainly just goes along with everything until the very end of the book when he takes matters into his own hands. Even then he seems to feel very little resentment towards his parents for denying him the one thing that may possibly save his life. It may be that he has little opinion on his treatments as he doesn't believe there is any hope for him - certainly from the very beginning of the book he is quite open with the assertion that the leukaemia will kill him.
Despite wishing that someone would slap his parents and that Daniel would be a bit more forthright, I still found this a very moving book, particularly as the story progressed and I got to know Daniel a little better. The romance between Daniel and Meredith was very touching and bittersweet and it made me want Daniel to recover all the more strongly. When I finished the book I was left with an odd sort of ache in my chest which stayed with me for some time.
To me this book reads like fiction for young adults and I think on the whole it will appeal mostly to teenagers. It may be an emotional and readable book, but it is certainly not another modern classic. J. D. Salinger and William Golding are safe for now. I would also say that it is sometimes evident that this is a middle-aged woman and not a 15-year-old boy speaking. Honenburger tries a bit too hard at times to be that teenager, and it does show. Obviously a convincing character shouldn't be seen to be working hard to be that character! This is still a book that I would recommend, and one that will probably stay with you for some time. And if you've read Catcher In The Rye, all the better, as I'm sure Catcher, Caught will take on even more meaning then.
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