Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye

Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye

by Laksha Vijaikumar, Editor

A young, confused soul, lost in New York, trying to find his place in the world and a way back home. No, this is not about Stuart Little, but rather, Holden Caulfield, our wild and complex main character. 

In “The Catcher in the Rye”, critically acclaimed author J.D. Salinger takes us on a journey through the perspective of a nihilistic cynical sixteen-year-old. At the beginning of the novel, Holden tells the readers about his expulsion from his phony prep school. So, he runs away to New York and gets into tons of mischief like sneaking into a bar, and getting into a pretty heated argument.

Toward the novel’s end, Holden goes from “relatable teen” to “intolerably obnoxious brat”. He refuses to acknowledge his privilege and constantly takes the life he has for granted. Holden, suffering from crippling narcissism and significant self-esteem issues, makes the book troubling to read at times. He is noted labeling people as “phony bastards” numerous times throughout the book. However, the gag is that Holden himself is probably the phoniest of them all. 

While Holden’s wishy-washy, “I’m better than everyone” attitude does get tiring at times, there are some things J.D. Salinger does well. Salinger was able to capture the authentic feeling many teenagers experience. The feeling of not fitting in. Many teenagers feel like they have no real place in the world, like something is wrong with them because they are so different from everyone else. While reading the novel, I felt somewhat of a special connection with Holden. We both knew what it’s like to be on the outside looking in. 

While “The Catcher in the Rye” definitely has its flaws, the novel is excellent for anybody around Holden’s age. It’s a perfect book if you enjoy classical literature, but not the difficult language that often comes along with it. Overall I give this book 4.5/5 stars.