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The Catcher in the Rye Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1991
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Novel by J.D. Salinger, published in 1951. The influential and widely acclaimed story details the two days in the life of 16-year-old Holden Caulfield after he has been expelled from prep school. Confused and disillusioned, he searches for truth and rails against the "phoniness" of the adult world. He ends up exhausted and emotionally ill, in a psychiatrist's office. After he recovers from his breakdown, Holden relates his experiences to the reader. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
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I enjoyed reading this book due to the fact that the main character Holden Caulfield is a 16 year old boy growing up. Holden struggles with deciding whether he is grown up or if he is still a kid. Recently , getting kicked out of his school Pency Prep before Christmas Break due to poor grades and only being able to pass one class, he decides to go on a journey through New York. As he starts his adventure he talks about people he knows and cares about. Holden talks about how smart , red headed and friendly his brother Allie is and how he passed away due to Leukemia. Holden also tells the reader about his other two siblings D.B and Phoebe. D.B is Holden's brother in Hollywood and Phoebe is his little sister who still leaves with her parents.
As the story goes on Holden claims that everyone he meets is a phony. Not only does he say that but he also lies to everyone he meets. He either changes his name or makes up a story on how he got there and why. Through out the book Holden shows that all he wants to do is sit down and talk to someone about the problems he goes through in his life but when someone tries to get close to him he pushes them away and makes up lies on why he can't be there with them and leaves. He mentions a lot a girl who used to live near by, Jane Gallagher . Holden explains how close he used to be to her when he has a child , and every adventure they did together. Later to reveal he is in a mental institute waiting to get out and go back to school.
The most controversial part about this book is the fact that Holden is a heavy smoker. He tries to lie about his age just so he can get a couple drinks at a bar or he gets people to do it for him. Holden also uses a lot of profanity during the story. He also hires a prostitute in one part of the book. He talks about his sexual life and who he would like to be with. Definitely how a person going through puberty would feel like.
I would recommend this book to kids who understand what Holden is going through or can relate to what he does and why he does, but then be of an age 16 or order due to the strong language he uses. Very controversial but a very realistic book.
When books are placed on a banned list in many states it is usually for a lot factors adding up, such as inappropriate language or actions, themes highlighting problems and issues that teenagers could face or even exposure to the harsh realities of life. To many that spells trouble but to me it sounds like the perfect recipe for a captivating book. Most think it is a good idea to sugarcoat books but I like the honesty and themes that are portrayed in the stories like Catcher in the Rye. It doesn’t shy away from realistic scenarios like under aged drinking, troubled school dropouts, or insane asylums. The story’s New York in the 1950’s setting paints the scene for Holden Caulfield and his troubles. His first person flashback narrating gives us an in depth look at his personality and reasoning for things but even with the narration type we are still left with questions and curiosity about Holden because of things he does not reveal to us or things he doesn’t even understand himself. Even with this book’s edgy atmosphere many of the themes displayed throughout the story are types of innocence that Holden shows whenever faced with a strange or different situation he isn’t familiar with. At one point Holden is in his hotel room in New York and pays a prostitute, she doesn’t appear to be any older than him and sge refuses things like a cigarette and informs Holden she doesn’t smoke “It was a funny thing to say. It sounded like a real kid. You'd think a prostitute and all would say ‘Like hell you are’ or ‘Cut the crap’ instead of ‘Like fun you are.’” Another theme that arises is the theme of love or lust when Holden is constantly thinking about an ex-girlfriend of his and he is constantly faced with situations that force him between the two. All together I thought the book was a fantastic story that let the character fully develop and showed us his angel and devil on the shoulder type of personality.