|The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
THE AUTHOR, Jerome David Salinger is an American author, born 1919 in New York City. He graduated from a military academy and briefly attended two colleges; after his early literary success, he became a recluse. His most important work, The Catcher in the Rye (1951), established him as a leading author. The hero of the book, Holden Caulfield, became a prototype of the rebellious and confused adolescent searching for truth and innocence outside the “phony” adult world.
All his works are concerned with the problems of the extremely bright and overly sensitive children of the Glass family.
THE STORY is about the youth life of Holden Caulfield, a 17 year old student at Pencey. He was already kicked out of 2 or the other schools before and this year he is again flunking 4 subjects. He is about leaving also this school and so he visits his old history teacher for telling him good-bye. Back at the dorm he talks to his room-mate Stradlater, who wants him to do a composition for English for him because he dates Jane Hallagher, an old friend of Holden. Holden finds the time to write the essay. He was told to write a description of something and so he described Allies baseball mitt.
Allie was his 2 years younger brother, who died on leukaemia some years ago. Holden was 13 when he died. It was a great shock for him; he broke the windows in the garage and he hurt his hand.
Anyway, when Stradlater comes back home, he wasn’t satisfied with the composition. They talk about the date and Holden asks him if they had sex, but Stradlater just says that it’s a “professional secret”. Holden gets mad and they have a fight until he is defeated and gets unconscious. When he wakes up, he makes the decision to leave Pencey immediately.
He goes to New York and rents a room at a hotel. At the bar he met 3 women he talked to for wasting time. He jumps into a cab and goes to a bar where he meets an old girlfriend of D.B., his older brother, a writer in Hollywood. Unfortunately she has no time and so he comes back to the hotel where he ordered a prostitute for 5$. They have no sex, but the he gets in a row with the owner who wants 10$.
The next morning he calls Sally, a friend, for having a date. They go to the movies and afterwards ice skating. They talk about wedding but get into an argument and so he leaves her. He tries to meet another friend, who had no time as well. He gets drunk and walks to Central Park. He is freezing like hell and so he decides to go home to meet Phoebe, his younger sister without telling their parents.
She is surprised meeting him but she soon becomes disappointed because she knows that he left school again. When their parents come home he leaves the house to visit his old English teacher. He talks to him but becomes tired and so he goes to sleep. When he wakes up he feels his old teacher petting his head. Holden gets scared and so he leaves and stays at a waiting room. He decides to leave and go west but he wants to meet Phoebe first and so he leaves a message for her at school. He meets her at the museum, carrying a suitcase, because she wants to come with him. They went to a carrousel where he finally decides to stay at home.
In MY OPINION it was a great book though it was written some decades ago. The author gave a good description of Holden Caulfield; as an always lonesome and depressed youngster who didn’t get over his younger brother’s death.