The Catcher in the Rye

J. D. Salinger

Imagine my joy when I picked up this legendary book for a mere R15 (still in great condition actually!) at a secondhand shop in Hillcrest?

Well, I felt joy. Utter joy at finally getting my hands on a book that practically everyone has told me to read. And so my journey began (I read it in early February this year).

The Catcher in the Rye is J . D. Salinger’s world-famous novel of disaffected youth.Holden Caulfield is a seventeen- year-old dropout who has just been kicked out of his fourth school. Navigating his way through the challenges of growing up, Holden dissects the ‘phony’ aspects of society, and the ‘phonies’ themselves: the headmaster whose affability depends on the wealth of the parents, his roommate who scores with girls using sickly-sweet affection.Written with the clarity of a boy leaving childhood behind, The Catcher in the Rye explores the world with disarming frankness and a warm, affecting charisma which has made this novel a universally loved classic of twentieth-century literature.

The way Holden moves and interacts with the world opened my eyes up to a whole new reality where it seems that some people really are up for anything, adventurous, curious. Holden just simply goes through the world, with little regard for consequences. He lives. And he’s critical of all the ‘phonies’ in the world. We all know about Holden’s phonies. The ‘normal’ and ‘boring’ people.

I don’t want to be ‘normal’ and ‘boring’ but I also certainly don’t want to drift from place to place like Holden does! And the ending of the book – simply delicious. Definitely my kinda ending!

In all honesty, I still don’t know how I feel about The Catcher in the Rye. It’s been about four months since I’ve read it and I still don’t know whether I enjoyed it or not! Perhaps I’m unsure because I’d wanted to read it for so long and I’d already formulated ideas about it in my head.

There is, however, simply no denying that Salinger is a literary genius. His deceptively simply way with words. Sentences and paragraphs dripping with meaning, sometimes lack thereof, but pure genius and rawness. Each page was beautiful to read. Simply beautiful.

And of course as I like to do at the end of a book, I Google everything I can about the author and the book! And to my surprise I found out that he also wrote quite a number of short stories and so I read ‘A Perfect Day for Bananafish’ which did more for me than Catcher in the Rye ever did! I’m keen to devour more of his short stories and will be providing reviews for them too.

If you’re a Salinger fan but have not read ‘A Perfect Day for Bananafish’, do yourself a favour and read it! You can get the pdf using this link:

I also just want to share with you the Penguin Books Australia version of the cover which looks absolutely beautiful! I’d buy it JUST to add it to my collection – for the aesthetic value.


-Babongile Z

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