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I sometimes feel like I'm Holden Caufield

Last night I finished reading Catcher in the Rye for the first time. It's an interesting book, not what I expected.. although I really didn't know what to expect. It seems most people have of course heard of the book, but haven't read it or don't really know what it's about. In fact it was this mystery, in part, that led me to read it. What originally piqued my curiousity was the movie "Conspiracy Theory" (Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts) where Mel's character buys lots of copies of the book for.. no real explained reason.

That was years ago, but I finally got around to getting a copy and reading it. I'm not a great book reviewer, and I think I would have to read this again in order to give it justice, but I can give a synopsis I guess.

Holden Caufield is the main character, he's 16 and the book is him narrating the story of a 2-3 day span of his life the year prior. He's a "typical" disillusioned teen.. he hates what he calls "phonies", people who aren't what they say or act like. He also gets depressed fairly easily, and has gotten kicked out of multiple prep schools for failing almost all his classes. That's pretty much where the story starts out, actually. He has a couple days until his parents will know he's been kicked out (till the letter arrives, that is). Instead of waiting for the last week of class before Christmas break, he decides to just leave.. and spend a few days in NYC before he heads home. The rest of the story follows him in NYC and all his experiences there.

Interestingly enough, there's not a lot of plot to the book, however it certainly kept my interest. J.D. Salinger's writing style really reflects that "this is a teenager talking" and it just weaves the story well to keep your interest. There is quite a bit of foul language in the book, but pesonally it didn't bother me much. I don't think it was gratuitous, it was good for developing Holden's character. Check it out, I'd recommend it, unless you can't get past the language.

Interesting notes:

  • It was written in 1951 and apparently has been/sometimes is still banned by schools and libraries due to the language and themes.
  • I read this in someone else's review: Supposedly whoever shot John Lennon sat down right after and pulled out a copy of Catcher in the Rye and started reading.
  • The subject of this post is a line from the FIF song "SuperPowers". I never knew who Holden Caufield was until I read this book. I still don't know who Jack Keroac is, but I'll find out eventually. :-]
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    Kevin Kevin
    I started reading Kerouac after I heard "Riding around like my man Jack Kerouac". Interesting guy he was one of the writers that kind of defined "The Beat" generation. His books are kind of a fictionalized version of his life and travels. It's definately interesting to read if for no other reason than his prose is pretty unique. All the beatnik stuff kind of came out of Kerouac's writings, but were kind of an exaggerated version of it. I haven't read "Catcher in the Rye", but I've been wanting to since I saw "Conspiracy theory" back in the day. You've inspired me to go find it tomorrow. Just to have read it.

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