- Written by: J. D. Salinger
- Series or Standalone: Standalone
- Genre: Classic, Young Adult, Fiction
- Source or Bought: Bought from a charity shop
- Goodreads Rating: 3.80
- Get it on Amazon here
“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”
“It’s Christmas and Holden Caulfield has just been expelled from yet another school. Fleeing the crooks at Pencey Prep, he pinballs around New York City seeking solace in fleeting encounters – shooting the bull with strangers in dive hotels, wandering alone round Central Park, getting beaten up by pimps and cut down by erstwhile girlfriends.
The city is beautiful and terrible, in all its neon loneliness and seedy glamour, its mingled sense of possibility and emptiness. Holden passes through it like a ghost, thinking always of his kid sister Phoebe, the only person who really understands him, and his determination to escape the phonies and find a life of true meaning”
I went into this book with lousy expectations after reading polarising Goodreads reviews. Despite numerous reviews complaining about the boring narrative and laborious pace of this book; I personally found it well paced and hard to put down. That said I can acknowledge on reflection that there didn’t really seem to be much of a plot. I believe this is intentional as the book was crafted to seem like the retelling of a handful of days in Holden’s life, rather than an adventure novel.
The book centers around Holden Caulfield, a rich kid who has yet again been expelled from school. He seems to be suffering from mental illness which is unsurprising after losing his little brother Allie. Holden trivializes almost everything and thinks most people are phonies. I think that he has had so many bad things happen that he can’t understand why people bother with trivial things like movies and snobbery.
Whilst I didn’t really relate to the protagonist and found his constant criticism of “phonies” hypocritical coming from a compulsive liar, I still found myself feeling bad for him (despite the troubles being self-inflicted). My favourite character is definitely Phoebe, I think we`ve all known a kid like her.
I feel that the ending was realistic which is important for a book like this, nobody died, nobody was miraculously cured of depression. Life just kept on going.
I think anyone who hasn’t read this yet should either go buy it or loan it from a library or a friend. Even if you end up on the opposite side of the spectrum at least you will have your own opinion on the novel. Happy Reading!
My Rating: 4.5
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