The first time I remember hearing of the novel Catcher in the Rye was an interview with Christian Slater. Perhaps around the time of Heathers. He talked about how influential the book was and I figured that he was so hot, he must know what he was talking about. Of course, that was before a lot of the spousal abuse allegations and bad films. Back in the day, Christian Slater was the man.
I’m pretty sure I read it back then, but I have a terrible memory. As I recently re-read it, I didn’t recall much of it, so perhaps I didn’t.
I didn’t really like it. Well, that’s not true. Caulfield Holden irritated me. He’s a classic unreliable narrator, which I love the idea of, but I got so sick of his obsession with the ‘phoneys’ of the world and how much better he is than anyone else. I get that he is alienated, and that feeling disconnected with this world can weigh on one’s mind, especially a teenager who is still working on finding their place in the world, but shut up about it! It is that whole idea that one person is right and everyone else is wrong. That the world would be a better place is everyone agreed and thought the same thing, but they don’t and it’s everyone else’s fault.
I did like that Holden constantly puts himself into bad situations – situations that get him kicked out of school, or ending up with a pimp and a prostitute trying to shake him down, and yet it is never his fault. And I hate that. I really hate people not taking responsibility for their own mistakes, and this book is full of it.
Am I missing something? Yes. Empathy, I think. I don’t care about Holden or his plight. Yet I was compelled – I read the book in about two days. It was great. How can I say a book I didn’t like was great? I guess I am just a really complex person. I blame society for that.