The Catcher in the Rye


I was intrigued to read The Catcher in the Rye as a result of watching too much Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. It’s quoted by the main antagonist.  Having had a chance to sit down and read it I’m not sure I should have bothered.

It’s a lauded novel, a byword for disaffected youth, but I found it just a wandering whine that failed to engage me.  This might be because it was written in 1950s America, so using words like ‘phony’ made it sound more like an episode of Happy Days than a serious comment on modern youth.

It’s a literary novel, which basically means it doesn’t have any real plot, it’s just a meander through a character’s point of view and wherever their thoughts take you.  The fact that the protagonist is a disenfranchised teen who is getting kicked out of a private school made empathy somewhat difficult.

Maybe that time difference was a problem, the constant smoking and drinking, while it still happens today, just felt out of place.  Caulfield didn’t feel like a rounded character, not even a ball of emotions, I didn’t fall for his cause or want to sit him down and talk some sense, I just wanted to close the book, I didn’t care.  In the end, nothing engaged me and I kept waiting for something to happen, but it never did.

I did finish it.  At least it’s short.  Maybe it’s a Marmite novel, I’m not alone in my dislike it seems.

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This was a copy of the book

Reviewed: 20th May 2011