Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Thoughts: Catcher in the Rye

Monday, January 23, 2012
Book Thoughts is a sporadic feature based here at The Page Sage for not-really-reviewing classics.
Genre: Classic
Series: Standalone
Website: N/A
Source: Bought
The Catcher in the Rye

I volunteer in a library, and it's a good time to think. As you might guess, my mind usually drifts to books. Today I was thinking about Catcher in the Rye (by J.D. Salinger) and why it still resonates with generations today. I mean, it was published in 1951. In the age of emails and iPhones, why is it still not out-dated?

The answer is Holden Caulfield.
(From Google Images)

Even if you think he's whiny, or are sick of "misunderstood" characters, you can't help but relate to Holden. He's the inner voice of every teenage girl or boy. Even those of us who are fairly confident and sociable can relate because- get this- everyone feels awkward from time to time. There's just that little bit of us that feels the slightest bit out of place, on occasion. Maybe we don't know how to talk to the person we like, or  how to tell anyone how we're really feeling, and sometimes we just feel so sick of people we want to put on a metaphorical red hunting cap to keep them away. But at the end of the day, we always take the cap off because we do need people and love them, even if it hurts. Holden speaks to the part of us that we try to hide and we realize that it's okay, because someone else feels that way, too. We're not alone. 

I doubt J.D. Salinger knew the effect Holden would have on his readers, but Salinger ended up touching thousands upon thousands of hearts. That's really the point of YA literature, and all kinds of books, in general: to enlighten, to support, and to give understanding. And that's why, despite it having been 61 years since Catcher in the Rye was first printed, it still reaches out to new generations of readers, and will for a long, long time.

What book do you relate to?

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