REVIEW: Salinger’s immortal words guide students through life

March 31, 2023

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” (Salinger 25). 

J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye follows a freshly dropped-out college student, Holden Caulfield, who struggles with identity and sociality. With a holier-than-thou attitude, Holden unapologetically delivers a raw – and oftentimes truthful – perspective on human tendencies. 

The novel, designed to neglect a standard plot structure, utilizes informal language to support its unique style and overall intriguingly humorous depictions of a socially induced quarter-life crisis. Repetition of snarky remarks, foul language, and rambling thoughts are seen throughout, which strengthens its themes as well as makes it an enjoyable read.

It discusses topics which modern day students relate to, without ever explicitly depicting the harsh realities. Instead, ideas such as the inner child, depression, and loneliness are portrayed throughout Holden’s actions – going out with multiple girls, drinking, portraying an escapist personality – after dropping out of a prestigious school.

The Catcher in the Rye is just under 300 pages of pure enjoyment, offering any audience a unique and transformative experience. Its easily consumable content makes for a digestible novel which covers difficult materials, making it the perfect novel for almost any age. 

This more creative approach leads to a raw, truthful, and real perspective. Truly a classic, it remains unmatched in the realm of thought-provoking novels, as the lack of plot offers space for an open interpretation; the reader is allowed a story free of distraction.

Salinger has curated a novel which is an experience any audience won’t soon forget. Its structure allows for even the most reluctant readers to find themselves wanting to hear more from Holden Caulfield. 

A novel which entices audiences and leaves a lasting impression, The Catcher in the Rye is a classic like no other. Holden’s words echo those of a friend readers hope to find, making Salinger’s writing a mastery that almost no one can achieve. 

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