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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Title: Catcher in the Rye
Author: JD Salinger

ISBN: 9780316769174

Publisher: Back Bay Books

"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.

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."

For whatever reason, I had never read this book until now. I know, I know... as a YA Librarian I should have read this, like, ten years ago. But I just got around to reading it. I've heard so many wonderful reviews and thoughts on this book - and outrage about it being challenged/banned/etc. So I finally picked it up and got through it.

But my thoughts aren't really as positive as others that I've read and heard. The thing is... I just like more action in stories I read. This book TALKS about action... about what has happened, what will happen... but very little actually DOES happen in this story. I mean, I do see why it's good for classes and study and such. I really do. I can imagine lots of things coming from this book being great for discussion. I just dunno that picking it up for a fun read is such a great plan.

I don't want to deter anyone from reading it - because I think it's good for many, many people. It just wasn't my cup of tea. The main character does speak very frankly and says just about everything that comes to him - that's where most of the controversy and enjoyment comes from. Can I say again that I do think it's a good book for classroom settings?

There are plenty of other opinions out there: Here, here, here, and here.

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