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Seventeen-year old Holden Caulfield is the protagonist, gets kicked out of Pencey Prep because he flunked most of his subject excluding English. Holden comes from a well off family in New York. His father is a lawyer. His brother D.B. is a writer who works in Hollywood. The novel is written in first person point of view, (Holden's). He leaves his boarding house and wanders off depressed, confused and angsty, drinking alcohol and intensive smoking and even hiring a hooker but does nothing. He recalls a lot of different people he knows and mostly considers them 'crumby' and 'phonies' or superficial. He hates school and people but he adores kids. He has a little sister Phoebe whom he visits and borrows her Christmas dough. He says that what he really wants to do in life is to be the catcher in the rye quoting a line from a poem 'Coming Through the Rye' by Robert Burns, 'when a body meets body coming through the rye'. He says he wants to catch little children who play in the huge field of rye and will happen to come close to falling into a cliff. In the end chapter he seems that he ended up in the psychiatric ward and has undergone psychoanalysis.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger has sold millions of copies since 1950s, is a classic and very controversial novel. It is translated in world's major languages and had been banned many times due to foul words/excessive cursing, sex, alcohol abuse and prostitution. It could have been made into film but J.D. Salinger didn't allow it till he died at the age of 91 two years ago, 2011.

I read the Jerome David Salinger's Catcher in the Rye as a teenager, roughly fifteen years young. I can't remember who owned that book but now after eight years someone gave me a brand new copy of it as a Christmas present. Reading it again is like reminiscing my younger pubescent self I didn't outgrow wholly. And unlike Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower which I can't hide my loathing (a bit), The Catcher in the Rye is a coming of age novel that became close to my heart. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a rip-off of the latter. Stephen Chbosky admits that The Catcher in the Rye influenced him a lot.

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I like Holden's sarcasm. “I can be quite sarcastic when I'm in the mood.” says Holden. If you weren't interested in Holden neither could understand his struggle, the novel would be no entertainment for you because it has no climatic plot nor suspenseful series of events. The novel is not about the plot; it is Holden attempting to speak to you. Few loathe him because he whines and cusses too much. He despises his life, is suicidal, cynical and sarcastic. He claims that everyone is a phony but he's a liar himself. He certainly is but I can't bring myself to abhor him because I have related to him at some point. Despite his aforesaid traits, he really makes sense. Holden hits closer to home. He is an epitome of adolescence rebellion, depression and angst. I sometimes think he was my male teenage counterpart, only I didn't end up at mental institution. He is depressed yet smart badass. I've found myself agreeing with him as I've read along. “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.” says Holden. How I wished I could phone old Salinger and be my terrific buddy. That would kill me.

He indeed is sarcastic in amusing sort of way. Holden having sent to psychiatric ward frustrates me somehow because I've thought he doesn't need to. All I thought he needs is to grow up some more and eventually contemplate some more stuff. Though Salinger himself had been sent to hospital for having a nervous breakdown. Writers are interesting people as well as their novels. Most of the time, their novels speak for themselves.

Some quotes from the novel stand out for me:

“If you sat around there long enough and heard all the phonies applauding and all, you got to hate everybody in the world, I swear you did.”

“I am always saying "Glad to've met you" to somebody I'm not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.”

“Mothers are all slightly insane.”

“And I have one of those very loud, stupid laughs. I mean if I ever sat behind myself in a movie or something, I'd probably lean over and tell myself to please shut up.”

“Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry.”

“I mean most girls are so dumb and all. After you neck them for a while, you can really watch them losing their brains. You take a girl when she really gets passionate, she just hasn’t any brains.”

“You never saw so many phonies in all your life, everybody smoking their ears off and talking about the play so that everybody could hear and know how sharp they were.”

“People always clap for the wrong things.”

“I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by. I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don’t care if it’s a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t, you feel even worse.”

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