#16 The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does anyone NOT like this book? OK, fine, probably. But are they HUMAN?

The story is as bewilderingly simple, as straightforwardly complex, as its main character, Holden Caulfield. It is pointless to comment on the “plot” of The Catcher in the Rye, so I won’t. Holden’s style of narration feels like a stream-of-consciousness retelling of the weekend after he is kicked out of private school. Digressions abound, to the extent that he even comments at one point on digression:

You could tell he was interested, so I told him a little bit about it. “It’s this course where each boy in class has to get up in class and make a speech. You know. Spontaneous and all. And if the boy digresses at all, you’re supposed to yell ‘Digression!’ at him as fast as you can.”

It is unsurprising that he FAILS the speech class. But, as he himself points out, sometimes digressions can be AWESOME, especially when you get to hear about your classmate Richard Kinsella’s uncle’s polio. And when Homer Simpson says anything ever.

This book is also proof that if you want people to like your male protagonist, you should give him a DOG or a YOUNGER SIBLING so he can show how AFFECTIONATE he is to DOGS and CHILDREN. Works every time.

Is it one of the 100 Greatest Books of All Time? Is polio a laughing matter?

Other favorite quotes:

I don’t exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it.

The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was… Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you.

I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by… 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.

Read: 2005