Monday, 23 November 2015

Review: The Catcher in the Rye

The trouble with classics, especially ones as famous as this one, is that it can be hard to feel like your review can possibly contribute anything to the discussion that hasn't been said a million times (and a million times better!) before.

So I think this 'review' will probably be more of a personal reaction to The Catcher in the Rye and my experience of the book, rather than a review in the traditional sense.

Since I was first introduced to this book (when it was mentioned on 8 Simple Rules as being Bridget's favourite book), I've heard mixed things to say the least! Plenty of people declare it a book they thoroughly disliked, while others loved it. Having read it, I can certainly understand both points of view.

The book's protagonist Holden Caulfield made me feel a strong mix of pity, empathy and dislike. He is completely inconsistent, frequently complaining about behaviours and character traits in others that he continually displays himself, and he claims to hate all of his friends, while simultaneously wanting to be around them. Basically, he has no idea what he wants, or who he is, or what his life will be.

And I think that's why I liked this book so much. Sure, it also made me uncomfortable (much like Franny and Zooey did when I read that), but it also felt very real. All the things Holden does, all the little traits he notices in others, ring so true. And while Holden's experiences are certainly not reflective of mine, I think everyone can relate in someway to the feeling of being lost and of not knowing who you are.

I feel like if I'd read this book at a different time, a time when I was less uncertain of the future and more sure of my place in the world, then I wouldn't have liked this book half as much. But as it is, this book came at exactly the right time.

Is that weird?

How about you? Have you read The Catcher in the Rye? And, if so, what did you think?

Have you ever read a book at exactly the right time in your life?

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