The Catcher in the Rye by J.D.Salinger is certainly a unique book, it is not really like any other. The plot is rather basic and to some, probably quite boring. It simply involves a rebellious boy who gets kicked out of school and then spends the next few days in New York by himself.
Often the first thing I do when I pick up a book is to try and grasp at least a mild understanding of what the book may be on about, using only the title. This usually gets my mind whirring but often ends in ridiculous storylines that are really nothing to do with the book. Mr Salinger did just that, the title really makes no sense. I had no clue what Rye even meant; I went to the blurb of the book to see if it could enlighten me with any hints as to what Rye is? Unfortunately, I did not get an answer and so after scouring the internet for a few minutes I finally came across a small explanation. Essentially the title is a reference to a poem called Comin’ Thro the Rye by Robert Burns. The poem is sort of a symbol for how the main character in the book, Holden Caulfield wants to preserve the innocence of his childhood.
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The book starts off with a rather unique style where Holden addresses the reader directly. He talks about how he goes to a prestigious boarding school which immediately captured my attention as I also go to a boarding school and so the book sort of added another layer of relatability for me.
The whole book is essentially just him retelling a few days of his rebellious life as a 17-year-old. He also very occasionally will flash forward to his own life, but this is done very infrequently. The part where many people may dislike about the book is the amount of profanity and negativity that is a common theme throughout the book. I don’t think there is even one page which doesn’t have some sort of negative opinion in.
This very negative attitude towards anything is actually very interesting to see from a modern day perspective, Holden always talks about how he is depressed and from my point of view he was very much depressed and needed serious help but no teacher or adult recognised this mental health issue and so he carried on his sad life without any official recognition of his mental disorder.
Even though Holden almost definitely does have depression some of his ideas and feelings towards certain things are very relatable and sometimes one can easily agree with him. I am unsure if I will agree with him in 10 years but certainly right now, his opinions on some levels are very relatable which is what makes this book very engaging and interesting.
I think that due to the language used in this book and The Catcher in the Rye analysis shows that it probably isn’t best to read it if you are under 13 and also I think if you are over 30 it is probably quite an infuriating read where almost everything he does probably seems wrong and stupid. However, I think if you are in-between this age brackets this book is a perfect read for you.