The Catcher in the Rye is one of the greatest novels of the 20th century written by an American author, Jerome David Salinger (1919-2010). This bestselling novel consists of 230 pages and is divided into 26 different parts. This novel is more famous among adolescents. This novel led to the popularity of J.D. Salinger in the 1950s. He received several offers to adapt this novel for the screen but he refused all.
The story is about an adolescent named Holden Caulfield, who is about to be kicked out of another boarding school for the fourth time for flunking most of his subjects. He decided to go to his hometown, Manhattan before the end of the term. He plans that he’ll stay in a cheap hotel, find a few friends and then arrive home early. However, he is deeply troubled by the death of his younger brother and a classmates suicide. He becomes alone in an uncaring city and his mind begins to unravel.
Holden’s journey begins on a Saturday in December just before school closes for Christmas break. He is worried as his parents would soon get the news of him being kicked out of his school. He decides to leave the dormitory after being beaten up by his roommate, Stradlater and stay in a cheap hotel in New York city, going home only on the day he was originally expected. Holden encounters a large number of people in the city of New York as he goes to nightclubs. He also tries to convince his old girlfriend, Sally Hayes to run away with him. He looks for acceptance with many people he comes across but is denied. He feels dislocated and thinks he doesn’t belong anywhere. Due to regular rejection he reaches a stage of mental disorder. So, he returns to his parents home. When his sister, Phoebe questions him about his career, he replies that he would like to be catcher in the rye and his job would be to prevent the children playing in a field of rye from going over the cliff. Being distressed, he goes to see his former teacher, Mr. Antolini and flees in horror when Antolini makes sexual advances. Holden experiences a complete mental breakdown after returning home and is sent to a psychiatric center in California for treatment.
I enjoyed reading this book because it contains the reality of an adolescent with humour contrasting with moments of depression. This book shares the experiences of a teenager and gives an opportunity to all teenagers to learn something from the life experiences of Holden. It is an inspiring book as it tries to convey the message that we should all remain hopeful and true to ourselves. Teenagers can relate to it because of its themes of rebellion, identity and independence. This book captures all elements one might want in a book. It captures all things in one short story like it is funny, direct, influential, affecting and current though written many years ago.
Although the novel is interesting, there is lack of drama and suspense in the book which could have made it more interesting. Furthermore, in many places it is trying to say the same thing and Holden repeats the same complaints, talks about the same things and maintains the same attitude throughout the story.Above all, the book is interesting, enjoyable and it gives a message especially for the adolescents. I think it is a good book for everyone and I recommend it especially for the teenagers to read it at least once.