Publisher: Little, Brown
Publishing Date: 1951
Format: paperback, purchased
Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins, "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them." His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.
To be honest, I wasn't sure what this book was about when I picked it up. It was in the clearance section of my local used book store, and I've heard of it, so I thought I'd give it a try. Well, I didn't dislike it, but I didn't really like it either. When I first started the book, I was pretty interested in it. But as it went on, I found myself getting bored, and I had trouble finishing the last couple pages. It wasn't a bad book by any means; it just wasn't great. I thought Holden seemed like a pretty typical teenager, not really happy with anything, bored with life, sick of school and friends. There wasn't anything special about him to me.
This is a pretty short review, but I don't have a lot to say. I didn't love it and found myself getting bored with the story.