rating: 2 of 5 stars
I so wanted to love Holden Caulfield, in all his teenage angst glory. Somehow in school I avoided this classic, perhaps there was a negative connotation to teaching it in school since it's been declared a banned book. (Which is pretty laughable considering how tame the story is).
The story takes place in just a couple of days, where Holden decides to spend a few days in New York on his own, before his parents can find out he's been expelled from ANOTHER school. In his emo, teenage angst that's the undercurrent of the novel, he describes why he won't tell his life story, "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."
Holden's biggest hatred is reserved for "phonies", which could be either his teacher or anyone he happens to run into that feels the least insincere. The best thing this novel does is capture the alienation due to conflicting feelings when a teenager has trouble relating to adults.
I found it difficult to relate to Holden, even though I was once an emotional teenager filled with angst. Other than his commitment to not be a phony, I found little to like about him - his self-loathing and confusion about life just reinforced that I didn't like him as much as he didn't like himself.And if he said "I'm not kidding, I'm really not" one more time, I think I would have thrown the book across the room. Overall, I'm confused as to why this is such a beloved book. It's an original story, probably the first of it's kind written from the point of view of a teenager. But I don't want to be a teenager again, or be friends with them. I couldn't put this book down fast enough.
Catcher in the Rye in 6 words or less: Expelled, angsty teenager visits New York.
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