Author: JD Salinger
Genre: YA/Classic Lit?
Synopsis: Sixteen-year old Holden Caulfield gets the boot from yet another prep/boarding school, Pencey, then decides to leave the campus right before the start of Christmas break and opt for some time for himself before he goes home to his family, to face the inevitable. For the next three days of his life, Holden does a good job dodging going home, while telling the reader about his folks and his siblings; his personal takes on organized religion; as well as his interests in certain females, coupled with his complete distaste of most of his classmates and other people he encounters.
My take: This is one of the three books I was looking forward to when I was in high school that seems to be on most every required reading list over course of grades 9-12. The other two in this category were George Orwell's 1984 and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Some how, some way, I managed to dodge having to read any of these three while in high school. I did, however, read Great Gatsby when I was taking a 20th Century Novels class while attending Spokane Community College. I have a copy of 1984 and will be reading it very soon. But then, I decided to make Catcher my second of the three to finally buckle down and read.
For the longest time (I graduated high school in 2004), I really have dragged my feet to accomplish my mission after reading Great Gatsby winter quarter of the following school year at the community college. But what I think finally pushed me over the edge was when the book, and its seemingly permanent place on the banned/challenged book list, became the subject of an episode of South Park, which had me in tears laughing. This is when, I knew, it was time to get a hold of a copy.
In the episode of South Park, Mr. Garrison's class is quite excited to read Catcher, on the count of learning that the book had been banned and contained all the things they held near and dear. But when they read it the four main boys, but especially Cartman, grow angry at learning that the book contains hardly anything naughty outside of incessant use of foul language. Now, I personally wasn't angry about that, and don't get turned off by excessive profanity.
Besides the fact that so many people rant and rave about how Catcher is a classic, even a timeless piece of literature, I was honestly looking forward to reading this. But by the end, I came out of it only having gotten through the testament of a whiny little brat who does nothing but drink, walk around the city, go into bars, and bicker about how practically everyone he's encountered in his life is a phony. Some people dig this, but it's really not my cup of tea.