This. Is. Amazing. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is part of the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge! Ever since I read it in high school, I’m hooked on this book. The first time I read it, I recognised the duality: one the one hand, trying to look and act older than your age; on the other, still being a child and enjoying it.
When I did my book report on The Catcher in the Rye, my teacher pointed out that the book was about being on the brim of adulthood. When Holden Caulfield (the main character) imagines himself being the catcher in the rye, preventing kids to fall off a cliff, it symbolises Holden not wanting to grow up. The playing kids are childhood, where the cliff is adulthood.
When my teacher explained this, that image stayed with me until this day. Even now, as a 27-year old woman (or girl), that concept speaks to me. Just replace falling into adulthood, what Holden tries to prevent, with falling into the routine of daily life without even asking questions!
Sometimes, you just want to be “caught” and stop for a while. Figure out what you want to do. Be happy where you are, but also where you’re going. As an adult – with an adult job, adult house, adult relationship etc – this is how I see The Catcher in the Rye.
About the book
Central to the story is Holden Caulfield, who describes his activities in a particular weekend. He’s kicked out of school – again – and he doesn’t want to go home and disappoint his parents. Instead, he goes to a hotel in New York and visits bars and old friends.
One of my favorite lines from the book is found on page 135. As a teenager who was very concerned with how I looked, I used this quote as wisdom about life:
If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she’s late?
I don’t think I have to explain why this line is so amazing. Holden might be a very angry teenager, but he always treats girls the right way.
All I want to say about this book is: go read it yourself. I think The Catcher in the Rye has an impact on readers, making you think about what the catcher in the rye means for you. As someone in my twenties, it isn’t as much about adulthood (even though sometimes I still think I am a child) but about progress into my thirties (YIKES!).
So yes, I would recommend this book. Even though Holden’s childishness bothered me sometimes, I think every adult should pause every once in a while to take time to be silly. We, as adults, need to be playful as well. And – and Peter Pan will agree with me – never really grow up.