1950s Classics

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

A few weeks ago J.D. Salinger sadly died. A brief discussion on twitter revealed that several of us had not read any of his books, so we decided to join together and read of his most famous work.

It is amazing how wrong preconceptions of a novel can be. For some reason I thought Catcher in the Rye was about a legal case; I’d have put my money on fraud, but wouldn’t have been surprised by murder or drug dealing. I was, however, very surprised that this wasn’t a crime novel at all, but a coming of age novel about an obnoxious teenager.

For the few of you who have as little knowledge of this book as me, it is about Holden Caulfield, a teenager who is thrown out of his school. After his expulsion Caulfield heads to New York where he meets girls, gets drunk and then gets a bit lonely.

As you can probably guess from my description I wasn’t a big fan of this book. I disliked Caulfield, but my overwhelming emotion reading this book was boredom. I just didn’t care what Caulfield got up to and considered giving up at several points. As the book was a classic, fairly short and not too difficult to read I persevered, but I’m not sure that was the right decision. I don’t feel I gained anything by reading it and wouldn’t be tempted to try any of his other books.

I had heard that several people disliked the stream of conscious writing style, but I didn’t have a problem with that. I think that I may have enjoyed this more as a teenager, but as an adult I failed to connect with Caulfied. Most of the time I flipped between wanting to slap him and wanting him to shut up so I could get on with something else!

I’m afraid that this book just wasn’t for me, but see the other read-along participants for more discussion: Book NutSteph & Tony InvestigateSerendipity and The Zen Leaf



Did you enjoy Catcher in the Rye?

Did you have any stupid preconceptions about this book?