Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review #27: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

NOTE: I specifically wrote this review like how the book is written -- took me a while to cultivate that slang.  For those who have read the book, I hope you get the joke ;)

I was helluva excited when I found this book. Boy, I really was. I was told the book's swell. That was before I tried reading it. I tried and failed so many times. This book's crumby as hell and takes false advertising to a whole new goddam level.

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to hear is that this is not Holden's life story -- he doesn't like that kind of crap. It's a three day glimpse into 17-year old Holden's psyche after he ran away from his exclusive prep school in New York. I imagine the sonuvabitch's family has a lot of dough because that was the fourth school he dropped out of.

This novel is built on a boy's struggle on the cusp of adulthood. It's more character driven than anything else. He's someone who tries hard as hell to protect innocence. Old Holden is a compulsive liar and someone who is too skeptical for his age. Speaking of his age, he is way tall for his age. That boy is 6"2 but you know, he has gray hair. That is ironical.

Now I know why the book was banned and censored. I really do. Crummy old bastards banning and censoring books and all. They depress the hell outta me. Anyway, first of all, there were way too many expletives. But those phony bastards must be kidding themselves in thinking they wouldn't learn it elsewhere. I mean, words like hell, sonuvabitch, helluva, bastard, goddam, damn were everywhere. Holden is such a habitual foul-mouthed fuck, he doesn't even realise it.

I ought to be sorry for that sonuvabitch. Well, I am -- just a little bit. He is lonely. Very lonely. He has no friends to call. Even a prostitute doesn't want him. What made me crazy is his pathetic hatred for adults and helpless adoration for children because they're "untarnished". Can't blame the bastard, the adults he's surrounded with seem terrible. Like Phoebe, his sister. He's a compulsive liar but at least he's compassionate and more intelligent than what he credits himself for, you know.

However, this book didn't do it for me primarily because of Holden. I have little tolerance for unmotivated, angsty and bitter behaviour. I'm not, was not and will not be like that. God, how I hate that stuff.

All I can say, I guess, is grow the fuck up. The joke is that the problem is he doesn't want to grow up. That kills me. I guess you'll have to be able to relate to appreciate what he represents. 

I'm not horsin' around when I said I found this book mediocre. I'm not too crazy about it. Don't get me wrong, I thought the themes and symbolisms like the red hunting cap and the interactions he had with strangers were impressive and all. The book itself was not what I hated. Crumby old Holden and the teenage slang were what I sort of strongly disliked.

Maybe I'll change my mind in the future, you know, when I read it again. I know people say it's a damn good book and one of those great American classics and all but to hell I can't say that. I really can't.  ★★

Pages: 214 pages
Genre: Classic literature, Bildungsroman 

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