The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D.Salinger

Salinger's landmark 1951 novel, The Catcher in...
Book cover

The Catcher in the Rye is, apparently, a classic of (American) English literature. It appears on reading lists in schools all over the world. Will someone please explain to me why?

The writing style is – I suppose – not too bad. It’s written very conversationally in the first person from the viewpoint of a young man who’s just been expelled from his umpteenth private school. He’s obviously short of a few brain cells as well, judging by his attitude to a lot of things.

Set in, I guess, the 1950’s means the language is a little archaic but I don’t mind that – I’m currently ploughing through more Conan Doyle and loving it. It’s the repetition, and the rambling nature of the prose that gets so tiring after a while. Oh, and the fact that bugger all really happens.

It’s “a day in the life” of someone I really don’t care about. I didn’t at the start, and I still don’t now I’m finished it. Had it been much bigger, it would have been discarded by the time I got past the mid-point.

Mind you, I guarantee my old English teacher likely got a hard-on reading it. But that guy was a ******* freak who seemed to love everything that you’re “supposed” to love – Shakespeare, Chaucer and the like.

If you want to read a classic, check out the Sherlock Holmes stories – although even they get a little tired after a while, around the time Doyle himself was writing them purely for cash. I’d only read this if I had to as part of an English course. And even then I’d shop around to see if there was another tutor with a different reading list.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
9 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Amy

Oh, is is that bad? I’ve been wanting to read it only because it’s supposedly a “must read” according to popular belief, as you said. Won’t be in a hurry now.

And yup, Sherlock Holmes is DA THING, maaan! Lost count of how many times I’ve read those. Especially the short stories.

weenie

It’s never been on my Classics To Read list and from what you say, I’m unlikely to include it. That’s the problem with the classics, they do tend to drag on a bit. Even Lord of The Rings, (which started me off reading fantasy tomes) gets tedious in parts; modern books tend to be a lot pacier.

I think I’ve only ever read one Sherlock Holmes story, probably during my early teens. Recommend one and I’ll try to read it this year!

weenie

I’ve read most of the Shannara books and yes, very similar to Tolkein’s books.

Might check out Hound of the Baskervilles – but it’s a short story? For some reason, I find I can’t read more than a couple of short stories before I quickly find that I need a far bigger story to get my teeth into…

Mosh

“Hound” is one of the few novels. I think there are only three. It’s still quite a short book, though – maybe 150 pages?

Talia

See, I quite enjoyed Catcher In The Rye. But then, I love The Bell Jar too. And Girl, Interrupted. I’m sure when I get round to reading One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest I’ll love that.

Noticing a theme here? Maybe I just like books about crazy people?!

Talia

See, I quite enjoyed Catcher In The Rye. But then I love The Bell Jar and Girl, Interrupted. I’m looking forward to reading One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

Maybe I just like books by/about crazy people?!

Mosh

Talia – because you *are* a crazy person, perhaps? I am starting to become wary of so-called “classics” as they’ve been more miss than hit when I’ve dug them out.

Mind you, I do still want to get hold of To Kill A Mockingbird. One of the few I remember enjoying at school. So, of course, we only got halfway through it.