Thursday, October 4, 2012
REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, A TIMELESS COMING-OF-AGE TALE
As my contribution to Banned Books Week, hosted by Sheila, at Book Journey, I am reviewing a classic tale.
After you read the review, please comment and leave your contact information, as I am giving away my copy of this book.
Paperback: 288 pages
* Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reissue edition (January 30, 2001)
* Language: English
The world that surrounds Holden Caulfield is full of excruciating disappointments, like the phonies who attend his prep school. And like the adults who teach there. Parents are often portrayed with all of their flaws, too, as Holden very diligently examines the world he sees and describes it for the reader in his first-person narrative.
Almost from the opening paragraph, the reader can feel what Holden feels; see the world through his eyes; and begin to completely relate, even if the reader is an adult. When this sixteen-year-old shares his thoughts and feelings, we are reminded of our own adolescence. And while we may not have been prep school students living in New York, the feelings are universal.
Not belonging. Doubting everyone around us. Questioning the realities we see.
Holden has been expelled from still another school, and he has until the following Wednesday before his parents find out. He grabs the opportunity for freedom and leaves school early. On the streets of New York, his observations of life continue as he seeks out old friends who make him feel "not so depressed." One by one, they manage to disappoint him in some way, however, until finally he reconnects with his younger sister. And with her, he shares his passion to be someone who protects and saves other children from the disasters of life. He envisions them running toward a cliff in a field of rye and he "catches" them.
Sometimes I found Holden very depressing, but, of course, his feelings were coming through. His disillusionment was intense. I especially felt for him when the one adult he turns to near the end, a mentor and favorite teacher, does something he perceives as appalling, thus crushing still another idol in his mind.
A glimmer of hope presents itself near the end as the rain falls in the park and everything seems cleansed. Like a new start.
Beautiful and evocative, The Catcher in the Rye is a timeless coming of age tale. Five stars.
Why was The Catcher in the Rye banned?
The challenges generally begin with vulgar language, citing the novel’s use of words like “goddamn,” with more general reasons including sexual references, blasphemy, undermining of family values and moral codes, Holden’s being a poor role model, encouragement of rebellion, and promotion of drinking, smoking, lying, and promiscuity.