Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye (Salinger)
I was supposed to read this in high school, but I just didn’t feel like it then. They made a big deal about it being a great novel, you know? My teacher was in love with it. That kills me. It really does. But the rest of the class was just full of goddam phonies.
All that aside, this really was a great novel; I’m glad I finally read it! It’s hard to classify what this book is: at times you feel like it’s a coming-of-age novel, but by the end it seems that Holden hasn’t really learned much; he has, however, been saved by the overwhelming power of kin selection. The end of the novel begs the reader to hypothesize about Holden’s future, which is left open. Mr. Antolini’s prophesy seems avoided, but despite his narrow escape from destroying his life he unaltered in his perception of “phonies” and a pessimist can do little but suppose that Holden will have the same experience at his next school that he has at the previous few.
On the other hand, Holden is growing up. Even if he doesn’t show it in the story’s narration, we know that kids get older and wiser. We know that eventually he’ll be more clear minded and realize what’s going on around him. And the experiences throughout the novel may just be the foundation he needs to take a firmer stand on life and step boldly into a more lucid future.