An interesting read. Holden strikes me as slightly unhinged, to be honest. His capricious moods and almost nihilistic outlook on life allows the reader to gain an insight on what it’s like to see the world through the eyes of someone like that, in this certain period – the 1950s. It seems, of course, a different world in comparison to the lives we lead in the 21st century.
There were parts in this book where I could’ve imagined Salinger sat at his typewriter, simply making it up as he went along without any real plan to what he was typing. The plot fails to make a great deal of sense, but it’s the context and the time that this book was written in that should be focused on.
It’s widely known that in those days (the 1950s & 1960s), you were expected to “Do as I say, not as I do”. Despite sounding outrageous and unreasonable to us now, back then it was accepted as good parenting. And so, to have a main character like Holden who curses constantly, and unashamedly rejects the values of his parents and society in general, it was naturally received by the general public as shocking and dismaying; but to others, it may have been seen as refreshing. Why? Because Holden would’ve become a hero to some. Not in the conventional sense of the word, but because people related to him and they sympathised with the way he felt.
Furthermore, the narrative style of the book, which is casual and conversational, was something that hadn’t been seen before – certainly not by a book in the mainstream. So, again, this was another refreshing moment, hence why The Catcher in the Rye has earned itself the privilege of being dubbed a classic.
If you’re after a copy of this book yourself, then you can find it half-price here: The Catcher in the Rye