The year is 1950, and sixteen-year-old Holden Wald is beginning his new school year is Pencey Preparatory School in Hagerstown, Pennsylvania. This isn’t the first school that Holden has been to, but it might be his last.
Throughout all of the bland people who attend this school, Holden stands out, and it’s not due to his red hunting hat that he often likes to wear backward, especially since it reminds him of a duck, but rather his odd personality. Although it’s only been a few months attending this dull school, the protagonist is already failing three out of his five classes, however, in an environment full of constant “rich person” clichés and generic, innocent lives as a high school student, his issues tend to blend in with the rest of the crowd. Holden’s life has always been rough, but as his year in this new high school progresses, he begins to experiment in different lifestyles, including toxic relationships, addiction, and nightlives. While experimenting, he finds himself stuck in different situations, such as contemplating his feelings for Jane Gallagher and even coming face-to-face with child-death itself, who he likes to call the Catcher in the Rye. Holden has to leave his home for good, presumably to go to a mental institution, so he says goodbye to those he once looked up to and appreciated, especially his little sister Phoebe, who loved her Little Shirley Beans record and notebook very much.
This literary realism novel touches on the subject of lack of childhood innocence in the new generation (as symbolized by ducks), mental health issues, sexuality crises, and saying goodbye to the ones you love. Reading the traumatic story of Holden Wald’s upbringing may not be suitable for those who find it hard to deal with serious and emotional topics.
The Catcher in the Rye is a bittersweet and uplifting story, worthy enough to be rated five out of five stars. This book is heavily recommended, especially due to how important the topics expressed in the book are, and how important they relate to real-world issues today. Through the catcher in the rye symbolism, this novel teaches young adults about the risks of growing up too fast, but also the repercussions of staying a child forever.
The Catcher in the Rye is a book that shows both sides in the growth of a child to adult and expresses how black and white society makes it seem. Remember that it’s important to not grow up so fast, but you shouldn’t be afraid to grow up. Not all innocence is lost, so cherish your time as a child and enjoy your life as an adult.