YOUth Review: The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is a very divisive and controversial novel. The story follows Holden Caufield, a cynical and stubborn teenager, as he is expelled from his prep school in Pennsylvania and decides to head to his family’s apartment in New York. During his journey, he is confronted and attacked both physically and emotionally until he finally hits rock bottom where he rebounds in an unexpected way.

The author’s writing style is simple but extremely effective, allowing readers to easily connect with Holden's thoughts and emotions. I found that Salinger does an incredible job of showing us the teenage angst that Holden carries and the pessimism that follows. However, this does hurt the character of Holden as it makes him harder to sympathize and relate to since not everybody is as insufferable as he is.

The character of Holden Caulfield can be as simple or as complex as you want. He could be a stubborn, pessimistic, angry, cynical character who doesn’t want to change. Or, a troubled and scared character who isolates himself out of fear of becoming a “phony.” Nevertheless, Holden Caulfield is a character that was written to be divisive and polarizing. For this reason, I found Holden to be beautifully written.

Overall, The Catcher in the Rye remains a thought-provoking read that puts forward unorthodox messages and themes. I highly recommend this novel to anybody who is looking for a relatively short, easy, and engaging read. While The Catcher in the Rye might not be everybody’s favourite. I still think it deserves its place as a literary classic.

Written by Talon R.