I picked up this book at Half Price because I’m a huge advocate of the Classics. Classic anything; movies, music, books… I’ll read it just to be able to say I’ve done it. I was captivated right off the bat; I never buy a book unless the first few sentences pull me in. I got about halfway through the book, got bored, forgot to read for a few days, then finished the last half in a matter of hours. Here is my quick summary and synopsis:
The Catcher in the Rye is about a teenage boy named Holden Caulfield who gets kicked out of boarding school. The entire story is his first person recap of getting kicked out and leaving the school named Pencey. The book starts with him saying good-bye to the school and his favorite teacher. He then tells about his journey back to New York, what he does during the days before he can go home, and all sorts of other things. The days after leaving school revolve around seeing his little sister, Phoebe. He talks often of her and his late brother, Allie.
Honestly, nothing climactic happens in this book. I don’t ever read synopses or spoilers until I’ve completely finished the book, so I went the whole week or two of reading this having absolutely no idea what it was about. I told everyone who saw me reading it, “I have no idea what it’s about.” I don’t regret reading it at all, but I will tell you I had to read 33 pages of SparkNotes to really grasp what this story was about, and I appreciate it so much more now.
While reading, I did understand that the narrator was troubled. Everything he talked about doing or saying or thinking was a complete internal conflict for him. He could never make up his mind about anything. He was in love with a girl, then he wasn’t; he wanted to run away, then he didn’t. It was almost exhausting, and I could only imagine just how tired Holden truly was on the inside.
If you start to read this book and find yourself getting bored, please make yourself finish it. Then read the SparkNotes. I think I like the experience of being completely confused while reading and then having a complete understanding afterward. 🙂 It is truly about trauma, loss, protecting adolescence, and so much more than it appears to be on the surface.