Top Re-read of the Month: Catcher in the Rye

RE-READ: Catcher in the Rye

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Even though this is supposed to be about Catcher in the Rye, there’s now way I could write about this book without mentioning its author  J.D. Salinger whose entire work needs more attention in order to shed good light on his classic teenager masterpiece. His writing style and content seem to me like an ever-present background that other writing juxtaposes. He is the green screen for weather reporters—always present, rarely noticed.

Though all of his writing is important to me, Catcher in the Rye, I feel, is too often overlooked or registered as some whiny teenage novel, which it isn’t. First, every other piece of writing by Salinger comes with his unbelievably wrought, over stylized sentences that make my head swim. But Catcher is the rare piece that diverges from this. He created a new style for it, one to fit the protagonist, and for this reason I feel many readers overlook it.

This is my hunting hat. I hunt people in it.

Above all else, it is a book about spirituality—not teenage angst. He wrote at a time before teenagers had perfected the art of angsty living, yet, sadly, we now look at it through our present milieu and overlay far too much of ourselves on it. This is why so many aged and jaded adults claim they just can’t relate to his whining, and yet, that’s exactly what Salinger is preaching about–that way we buy into the adultness of everything, forgetting our childhood to just play the game.

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Considering all of this, is not surprising why Holden wanted to be the titular catcher in the rye, saving kids from that vertiginous drop into adulthood? One day, I, too, will probably topple over that edge. I just hope this book will always be there to help others from doing so.

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