This is one of those books that I’ve been told (Well, not told so much as read about!) is a must-read classic. I’ll admit, I’ve tried reading this book many a time in the past and barely got beyond the first three pages! Can’t say why, but that’s moot now that I’ve finally finished it! And I must say, it is quite a good read! Usually, when I hear the word classic, a picture is formed in my head of a bunch of hoity-toity people dressed in Victorian era clothing, drinking tea from fancy porcelain teacups with their pinkies extended and noses up in the air, all the while saying “How do you do?” to each other! This book is the complete opposite of that!
The book shows us the world (Actually, just early 1950s New York) through the eyes of Holden Caulfield, a seventeen year old with what can only be termed as “issues”! It starts of with him getting ready to go home at the end of a school term, although on a more permanent basis than just a vacation. He eventually ends up in the city, spending three days there, having a revelation of sorts (depending on how you perceive the ending) and even getting beat up a bit! I won’t bother going too much into the details of the plot since I’m not writing Cliff’sNotes for the book! Read it instead! You won’t be sorry!
The thing that really gets you about the book is the way that Salinger has crafted his main character. Holden Caulfield feels so real, he could be you or me or someone that we know. Maybe that’s why on many an occasion I had a terrible urge to reach out and strangle him or beat him to a bloody pulp with a baseball bat (which my brother happens to have lying around the house. Maybe he read the book too!) or just generally curse him! Makes you wonder how stupid we were when we were seventeen! (If you’re seventeen and reading this review, well, you’ll laugh about it in maybe ten years or so!) At seventeen, even the most mundane and stupid things seem important. Of course, that’s not to say that the entire book revolves around the mundane-made-important by an obnoxious seventeen year old. A lot of the things he goes through, I’m sure most of us can definitely identify with. There’s also times when you feel the protagonist is much older than his years. Like when he tells a prostitute he just wants to talk (which seventeen year old wants to talk?!) or when he talks about how superficial and pretentious people can be. A major underlying theme in the book seems to be Holden’s loneliness and depression. Which sometimes makes you want to put down the baseball bat and maybe just pat him on the shoulder or something! This also tends to make the humour in the book a bit dark too. Not “I’ll kill you till you die of it and then laugh about it” dark, but a depressive dark. Times like when he gets beat up by a pimp, makes you kinda laugh and at the same time feel a little bad about pulling out the aforementioned baseball bat!
While it’s not a whodunnit that I could ruin by telling you that the “butlerdunnit” it would still serve you better to read it yourself! What, you’re still here instead of reading the book? Why?!
– Edrill DaSilva, Guest Blogger