Book Summary: Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."
His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.
Liana's Summary: Holden Caulfield is kicked out of Pencey Prep School because he was failing four courses, basically all but English. English, he passed. This story revolves around the journey he takes between getting kicked out and going back home to his parents. Caulfield narrates with a very interesting voice and is a very interesting character.
Hands down, this has got to be one of the best books that school has ever made me read. We had to take notes, though, and that sort of ruined the experience, just a little. It's kind of like if your teacher makes you read a book with the whole class and everybody has to read a paragraph, and then you always get to that one quiet kid who CAN'T READ or pronounce anything right (for crying out loud, you're in high school) and it's just so frustrating because AHHHHH. Well yeah, I didn't enjoy marking the page every time he said "phony" because hell, that kid overused that word. I sure as hell don't enjoy taking notes as I read a book.
But still, this book was ridiculously awesome. I kind of slacked off because I've been on a reading slump for the past year, and I had OUAT to catch up with *oops* and movies to watch.
Holden Caulfield is a really interesting character. You'd think that he's not a smart kid and he's not independent because his grades are way down in the dumps. I mean, he's been kicked out of three schools. And he smokes cigarettes. (Although that's not really uncommon in his time period. Still. It bothers me.)
I can tell why this book was on some banned books lists, because there's a hell lot of "bitch" and "shit" and "fuck" going on in this book. But it really adds some flare to Holden, to be honest. I like this kid. He's a good character. But really complicated. He's really kind at heart, and he never wants to hurt anyone even if he thinks about it. Throughout the book you can see that he backs out of a lot of things. Like, losing his virginity, or fighting someone physically. I really like how Salinger wrote out the relationship Holden had with his little sister, Phoebe, because that was really cute and it shows Holden had an extremely soft side.
Overall, I enjoyed this book tons...