WBN 37: The Catcher in the Rye

First book ticked off the list! This novel has such a seductive and distinctive voice that I decided to try writing my thoughts in the voice of Holden Caulfield himself. I know it’s a bit cliched and used quite a lot but I’ve never tried it and it was surprisingly fun to do!

The version I read: published 1994, it reproduces the original American text.

Oh boy, I gotta tell you, I just read this great book. It was the first book I read for this goddamn World Book Night Challenge and let me tell you I got one hell of a bang out of it. I did read it once before, way back when I was a kid but I figure I forgot about it. I have kind of a hard time paying attention to things. Anyway the book is Catcher in the Rye, by J D Salinger, and it’s about a guy called Caulfield. Holden Caulfield.

He’s a real terrific guy, Caulfield. A lot of people think Holden Caulfield is a phony. He isn’t, though. Boy, he really isn’t. He tells this story all about his school, Pencey, and why he gets kicked out and has to go home again. He sets off a little early on account of his dumb roommates, and he meets a whole bunch of people and goes to some terrific places. It really killed me. There’s this one part where he sneaks into his parents’ house to see his kid sister Phoebe and they shoot the breeze a while. Phoebe just kills me, she’s the smartest kid sister you ever saw. She’s only ten and all, but somehow you kinda get the feeling that she’s pretty wise. When Caulfield’s talking to her, you just know she knows exactly what he means. You even kinda get the impression that she’s probably a little smarter than him.

It really makes you feel for old Caulfield, this book. All he wants to do is get along by himself, maybe give a girl the time once in a while. But somehow all these phonies keep getting in the way. It’s depressing for the guy. It must get kinda lonely, everyone being such a damn hypocrite all the time, shooting the breeze all the time when you just know they don’t give a damn.

All the same though, I figure Caulfield has his problems. Jeez, that guy thinks everyone is a phony, or insecure, or boring, or a flit, for Chrissakes. Even when someone tries to help him, he just won’t have it. He’s a little judgmental, if I’m honest with you. I’m not usually too honest, I can really lie like a madman when I get going, and that’s not too gorgeous to see. But I’m not lying right now, I swear it.

If you don’t think this book is smart, you’re crazy. You really are. Salinger must have been a real hotshot. I bet he knew a phony when he saw one. I wish I could’ve known him. You just wish, when you’ve finished a book like that, you could call up the author and talk to him any time you like. What a guy.

Follow the World Book Night on Twitter using the hashtag #theWBNread. World Book Night themselves tweet here and I tweet as @isobeljokl

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