The Catcher in the Rye

catcher 1I have never understood America’s fascination with this novel.  All I know is that it’s a boring, inconsistent, whiney story that most American teenagers are forced to read and revere and quote.  I, for one, do not revere it, nor have I ever revered it.  I think it’s a whine-fest of a teenage boy who is DEFINITELY on the autistic spectrum.  His life has fallen apart because he’s getting kicked out of school and has no friends.  His desperate cries for attention and his unhealthy obsession with his sister make this book even more tedious to read.

I’d like to take the story on its face.  No symbolism here!  You already know how I feel about “hidden meanings!”  The story is kind of stupid.  A kid can’t cut it at prep school so he leaves, but can’t return home yet because his parents aren’t expecting him, so he decides to stay in a seedy hotel and hang around New York for a few days.  The whole novel is told from Holden’s point of view, and he’s just so long-winded and he worries about the stupidest things (the ducks in central park, the prostitute that he hires, his teacher’s homosexual advances (or lack thereof) towards him, finding the perfect record for his sister).  This book is probably the only book that I wanted to put down BEFORE finishing, but had to continue because I was forced to by my 11th grade English teacher who, apparently, has been brainwashed, like all the other English teachers, into thinking this novel is some great work of fiction.  That’s why we’re all forced to read it!

catcher 2Ok, so I hate the book.  I just won’t ever read it or discuss it with anyone.  I can’t imagine wasting another minute of my life on it.  That’s not what really annoys me.  What really annoys me is how flabbergasted everyone is when I tell them I hated it.  They assume that, because I read it, that I would love it and revere it as everyone else does.  I DON’T!  I think it’s a tale of a whiney teenager who has to man-up and stop being such a pussy!  Or, he should just kill himself already…we all know that’s where he’s headed.  If he did it early on in the book, I wouldn’t have to muddle through so many pages!  When I say this to people you would think that I attacked them, personally.  Like I perpetrated some heinous act on their family.

In truth, I think most people say they like the Catcher in the Rye because they are supposed to.  I think J.D. Salinger knows this, this is why he hasn’t written anything else…he knows he sucks as a writer and people will instantly compare anything new to the Catcher in the Rye.  He’ll be found out for the fraud that he is.  He deserves to be, for making American teenagers have to sift through his drivel!

Anyone who grew up as a teenager can identify with Holden Caulfield, right?  WRONG!  Holden is the worst kind of human being.  He makes decisions and then doesn’t follow through, he whines rather than trying to solve, he obsesses over stupidity and he is socially awkward.  This book is not the great novel that everyone thinks it is, but it’s not politically correct to say that you hated it, so everyone says they love it.  And when someone finally has the guts to say “hey, this sucks,” people chastise and oust him for it.  Well…..HEY, THIS SUCKS!

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2 Comments

  1. I think It is a good book and i like that Salinger had the ability to express through words the feeling of not knowing which directions to take in life. In Italy it doesn’t have the same success as in US, we have other books or movies or bands which are impossible to criticize because everyone learn that those are like classics and implicitly perfect. For example I love to throw shit on the Beatles, because they are just a useless boyband with a bunch of cheesy songs…all you need is vomit.

  2. When I finished reading it, at 17, I threw it across the room, I hated it so much. That’s it? Just whining?!

    I gave it another chance as an adult… I’ll grant that I think there’s something in there about grief, that wouldn’t be apparent to a teenaged reader, which makes me question why they assign it in schools. That didn’t make me like it any better, though. I’m with you. It sucks.

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