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Bry's Bountiful Book Blog

Because I need a place where I can pretend that people are reading what I'm writing...
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

OK, I can see how people might think this book was boring. Let's be quite frank, not a lot happens in it. Holden ditches school. Holden thinks about losing his virginity to a prostitute, reconsiders, then gets rolled by her pimp. Holden watches a movie. The scariest and most unexpected moment comes with Holden's bizarre and disturbing encounter with his former teacher, Mr. Antolini. But this still amounts to not much in the way of actual events occurring in the narrative of this book, and it's for that reason that I could not rank this higher than three stars.

The strength of this novel, though, lies in the very realistic portrayal of Holden Caulfield. I mean, aside from the fact that he is very privileged and doesn't really have to worry about money, I basically WAS this kid - intelligent, angry, disinterested and misunderstood. Holden never really decides on a path for himself at the end of the book, but that really makes the book that much more convincing. I never figured out what I wanted to do with my life until I was 22, and some people never find a raison d'etre. Holden is also haunted by the P-word, as I was at his age. "You have so much potential," it was always said to me, and it seems like Holden's in the same boat. Hard not to identify with him.

And then there are Holden's cutting, incisive perspectives on the people around him. I had this in common with him as well. It becomes the thing to do, looking at other people's lives and finding faults, when you're afraid to examine your own life.