The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

~~Moved from GR~~

Salinger himself is a curious figure, reticent and, on the surface, shallow, but with deep, swift currents running underneath. Personally, my favorite writing of his is the short story, Bananafish, but Catcher is also a worthwhile read.

My initial expectations were not high; I had always liked the title, but had once been given a summary something like: “The story’s about this weird depressed kid who gets drunk in New York.” The cover was plain and drab, and the person who read the book before me had hated it enough to give the book multiple stab wounds: the cover was pockmarked as though someone had driven a pencil point into it over and over. It was not a very fortuitous beginning, and as I doggedly started to read, I was appalled and irritated by the constant repetition of “goddam’s.”

However, as I got more deeply into the story, I found that Holden Caulfield, the main character, began to demand my sympathy. He is a very interestingly unreliable narrator, and the book is rife with symbolism. The simplicity of the descriptions are somehow evocative. My only disappointment is that the ending feels somehow incomplete. Overall, the book pleasantly surprised me with its quality and depth. Yes, the story is about a depressed kid; yes, he does get drunk in New York, but the beauty of the story is in Holden's vitality and in the way his unique voice so ably captures his spirit