The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D Salinger is a coming to age novel. As the title indicates the novel’s main “moral of the story,” situation is preventing teens from falling off the cliff(metaphorically of course), or in other words protecting the innocence of teens.
The novel is about a pretty angry and depressed sixteen year old boy named Holden Caulfield, who lives in an unnamed boarding school institution in California. Holden recalls and retells the previous events that occured before Christmas. These previous events begin at the prep school he used to go to in Pennsylvania, which he gets expelled from. After getting expelled he is confused, and begins searching for truth, eventually leaving the school early before Christmas break without anyone knowing. He is against the “phoniness” of the adult world. After all of this he ends up exhausted and even more depressed than before. But in the end he realizes that he needs people, especially people who he loves.
Holden has a pretty dark and gloomy perspective of the world; and cannot stand anyone at the prep school he used to go to. He is also pretty impulsive and makes last minute and rather foolish decisions. This novel uses the first person literary style, Holden is the narrator, and everything is in his perspective. Moving on to a more formal analysis.
In my opinion the book is pretty good and shows how teens especially who are going through depression, rebelliousness, etc, pretty accurately. Even though the character development is pretty up and down, it is realistic in the sense that a person in real life goes through a lot of ups and downs in life. I don’t really have a favorite character, some of the characters I even really disliked. The characters were portrayed in a way that made them seem very flawed and messed up; also Holden the main character was unlikable in many instances, just because of his questionable decisions. But than again this is what makes the book realistic.
The main themes in this book are: coming to age(Holden is transitioning from boyhood to manhood), protection of innocence(I explained this above), loneliness(Holden is often incredibly lonely and lost, but even when he try’s get out of this state he constantly sabotages himself), and mental instability(I wouldn’t really call this a theme but this is so prevalent in the novel that I had to add it).
Would I recommend this book? Yes! I wouldn’t recommend this novel to anyone who is sensitive to topics such as depression and other mature themes. I would recommend this novel for a 14+ age group, just because their are a lot of mature messages, and some inappropriate moments. Also there is a lot of profanity, I mean a lot! I was actually surprised, since this novel was published in the 40s. So be warned. But overall it’s a good book and in my opinion accurately portrays the perspective of some teens.
Thank you for reading
Oh quick thing, do any of you guys have any cool book recommendations? I am out of books to read, lol. Any recommendations are much appreciated.