Catcher in the Rye Book Review Essay

Book review. My book report is on ‘Catcher in the Rye’ by J. D. Salinger Over a month I have really enjoyed reading this novel. It’s a very perceptive book, but only in one point of view: Holden’s. I never felt attached to the book in any form, and when I wasn’t reading it, there was nothing that drew me back to want to read more. However when I wasn’t reading I would ponder about the book a lot and question the meaning and depth that Salinger was trying to get across. It’s a very interesting style of writing, as there is a plot to what’s going on but there’s no obvious or exciting climax. You have to sort of find your own climax.

I feel as though the main moral of the story is to find your morals and ethics of life, to develop your own thoughts and perceptions of life. This means that for the reader you find your own climax in the book, when it gets through to your way of thinking and affects your thoughts. I found that the story was told in a way that Holden was reviewing his life and re-telling this specific point in his life. At some points he came to a stage where he couldn’t remember what he said next in the dialogue, or he knew what the outcome of a situation was, but he couldn’t remember the precise words that he used.

When the first example of this was used I questioned everything he had previously said. Was it just a biased one sided look on all the events he had already re-told? Could he truly remember every dialogue he had ever exchanged, and what made it so imperative to himself that made him remember what had happened and made him want to re-tell it? The main character was Holden Caulfield, and there were few other characters that I actually met in the story. Holden often talked about other characters though.

This was one of the main writing strategies used by Salinger, instead of introducing a new character he would get the character he already had, to talk about them or review past memories about this new character. I felt as though Holden was a very distracted character; if a friend mentioned another person, Holden would recall every memory he had with that person, almost as if he were directly talking to the reader and only mentioning it for the readers benefit. It was rarely anything to do with the story line just additional information.

I found this slightly irrelevant at first until I realised that this was the purpose of the book, to explore someone else’s memories and thoughts. I realised at about chapter 10 that the rest of the book would be based on his day to day life, and mainly focusing on the past, and his prior relationships with others. This meant that I wasn’t drawn to read the book all the time as I never had any drive to find out what happened next, I knew that reading the book would just develop my understanding of the character.

This was then when I realised that I could apply situations which were brought up in the book to my own life, and I would wonder what I would do in these situations and how that would differ to what Holden did. Holden was a very inquisitive character and at times very determined and persistent. I enjoyed reading the book as it gave me a different outlook to life, and opened me up to how other people think and see things. I almost felt as if this character was letting me into their life, and opening doors in my own mind and saying ‘look how I did this’ I found this approach very intriguing, but not heavy going.

So overall this novel was rather thought provoking and insightful. For a recommendation I’m not sure what sort of person I would aim this book at. It would have to be the sort of person with a lot of patients and commitment, as it’s not that easy to get into or has an exciting storyline. However I think for lots of people reading this book would be really beneficial to their outlook on life, and would aid them in getting a different view (as well as question their own views) on life and help them to realise that it’s not only their views that counts.

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