Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Love Catcher, Hate Caufield.

I read this article in the New York Times a few weeks ago and thought to myself  - they just took the words right out of my mouth! I read Catcher in the Rye when I was in high school. And old crush thought it was the greatest book ever and I decided to give it a whirl. I was more of the Silvia Plath camp, and felt that Catcher was like The Bell Jar if written by a neurotic yet narcissistic boy. While I enjoyed the story and concept, Holden was someone I wanted to punch in the face. This boy, with all his privileges, could find something to complain about in everything. And his repetative "goddamns" were to him what "Gosh!" was to that obnoxious imbecile - Napoleon Dynamite. Simply put, these guys deserved to get their asses kicked. Now, I know some people (e.g. one of my best friends) feel that there is no way to like Catcher without loving Holden, but I think there is. I recognize the book as an amazing work of literature, and recognize that Salinger is a talent for writing it, but I also realize that his talents went farther because he was able to create such a multi-sided character who one must either love or hate, but still is captivating enough to want people wanting to know where it all goes. Since I read the book as a 16 year old, I realize it might be time to re-read it with different eyes. Maybe I was too young and immature to understand the complexities of Caufield. Chances are, though, that i'll just really want to punch him again.


anonymous said...

Read the rest of Salinger's work. After reading the other books he's written, I ended up feeling like Catcher was probably the last of his books I like. Nine Stories is definitely my favorite, followed by Franny & Zooey.

(She got Herself up) Killingly said...

haha ive been trying to make it thru nine stories for about as many years >.< but i love it. its weird. i just pick it up randomly and read one story and forget about the book for like months at a time and read another story, etc. but i think its amazing. again, my issue wasnt really w/ salinger. i think he had something going. i just thought caufield needed to get his ass whooped. by me. lol honestly he just reminds me of too many guys and you know what they say about scorned women or whatever heh.

btw, is this adry??

Henry said...

I haven't read Catcher since I was in high school. Loved it then and it definitely had an impact on my writing. I really love the first-person in the moment stream of consciousness style. I guess I should re-read to see if I still feel the same. And Holden is a total douche.

You should check out Salinger's other stuff, though. I was pleasantly surprised when I read Raise High the Roofbeam Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction and Franny & Zooey. Total opposite of what Catcher was. I love those books, and Wes Anderson sort of based Royal Tennenbaums on the Glass family (Margot Tennenbaum's stint in the bathtub was based on one of the stories).

48crash said...

Ever read Cain's book..by Trocchi? Also Henry Miller..perhaps some poetry by Ginsberg..that'll help rid your mind of that Holden poison...I promise the aforementioned will provide you with a jit-free zone