Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger is a coming of age, fictional novel about a teenager by the name of Holden Caulfield, facing adulthood. This novel was not what I expected it to be, considering the first person, journal style it was written in. This novel shows a troubled boy, trying to overcome many different obstacles, including issues with mental health and the social environment surrounding him. I read this for class, and while it was somewhat interesting, I would not necessarily call this one a ‘page turner’. I think this is a great novel to do an assignment on for school, whether it be for an English class or even a psychology class, however, I would not read this just for fun. I would highly recommend this novel for a school project, but not exactly as a great, mind blowing novel. I would give this book a rating of 2.5/5.
@TheCuriousBookworm of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board
Don’t read this book. It is 277 pages of cynicism told by an adolescent who thinks they know everything, and if one were to describe this novel in one word, that word would be ‘bothersome’. There is nothing likeable or remotely noteworthy about Holden, the main character, and he thinks everyone around him is a phony and a moron – it is painful to listen to his whiny, self-important train of thought. If you identify with the protagonist Holden, you may enjoy this book, but if you’re not a miserable, whiny person who never takes charge to change what they are miserable and whiny about, this book just feels like an adult whining about how they never rid themselves of their teenage angst. It’s a whiny book.
- @FalcoLombardi of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
I have found The Catcher in the Rye to be a very polarizing book; you either love it or you hate it. After reading the novel for myself, I have to say I understand both sides of the argument, but after a close analysis of this book I would have to say I enjoyed the novel and would like to address a few of the main points in which people argue against it. First, Holden is an unlikeable brat: this is undoubtedly true, Holden isn’t a likeable protagonist. However, that in itself aids the purpose of the book. Holden is upset, he doesn’t feel right and he doesn’t know why (multiple valid reasons are presented in the book as to why he isn’t ok) so he takes it out on the world. He’s still a child who’s being forced into a man’s world but he despises what society has decided what a man is. Second, Holden doesn’t develop as a character and nothing really happens in the story; again, that’s the point. Holden is in need of help and never receives it and this is what makes his story somewhat tragic. Finally, the most common argument against the book: I don’t get it. This may sound mean but that’s because you are not the target audience for this novel. You’re likely an older, more mature reader who has comes to terms with the way the world is and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, The Catcher in the Rye was written for the impossible idealist, an immature and miserable concept. The individual doesn’t have the power to change the world, especially when the world seems like it’s against you, and that is what Holden has trouble coming to terms with. The book is meant for people who, for a lack of a better term, haven’t been broken in by the world yet. If you are young or still young at heart, give the book a try and make of it what you will. If you are an older or more mature reader I would suggest that you should pass on this book. 4/5 Stars
- @Fulton of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library