The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, is the classic Coming of Age novel. Written all the way in the 1950’s, this novel has become a common selection for reading material in English classes across the country. Although controversial, this book is one that you should try to read at least once, and judge for yourself. The story follows Holden Caulfield, a sixteen year old New Yorker, who has attended and flunked a bunch of prep schools. One day, at his latest school, Pencey, Holden decides to ditch the place and goes to New York for three days. Holden acts like an adult by booking his own hotel room, going to bars and going on a series of adventures across the city. The book chronicles his antics, as we learn more about Holden and he tries to discover his future and why he feels so isolated from society.
Of course, the main character is Holden Caulfield. Although many see him as immature, you will come to find him as the complete opposite. Holden has many deep thoughts and critiques on society, and although they can be confusing, a lot of it rings true with our own modern society. Remember, this takes place in the New York of the 1950’s.
The Catcher in the Rye is written in a very old-fashioned way. The language is very different than what we would use in our own modern novels. However, it is also very interesting to see how a teenager would live in this world of the distant past. The novel also carries many themes of teenage angst, as well as feelings of isolation and loneliness. Throughout the course of the story, Holden struggles to find where he belongs and often is depressed and sad. You can say that it is about growing up, making it among the first coming of age stories.
After reading The Catcher in the Rye, I can recommend it, but I do warn that there are some controversial situations that happen in this book. As well, this book is written with terms and slang which may be unfamiliar. You can definitely interpret it, but just be sure that The Catcher in the Rye was written long ago and is different from the novels of today.
The Catcher in the Rye is a contemporary novel and will surely be remembered for what it brings to the world of literary fiction. It has contributed a lot and has inspired many modern books after it. However, it stands on its own and shouldn’t be compared to other novels, as it is better enjoyed without comparison.