Plot Summary: The book is told through the eyes of Holden Caufield, a sixteen year old native New Yorker who is compelled to quit his high school in Pennsylvania due to the events that unfold in the 1st few pages of the book. He decides to go to New York for 3 days so that he would not have to be present when his parents receive the note of expulsion. These 3 days in New York serve as an expression of teenage angst, sexuality and detachment for the reader through the hotels, cabs, bars, lounges he visits and above all the people he meets.
1.Holden desires to save the innocence that children have. He wants to be their savior when they begin to fall into the superficiality of adults. Time and again, he expresses his loathing for sugarcoated pleasantries and the fake small talk of the people around him. He calls them ‘phonies’ and wishes to fortify young kids from turning into those people.
2. Holden isn’t a traditional 1950-60s kid who won’t ‘gain an education to buy a Cadillac’ but the societal structure does not allow any swerving from the path curated for all students. Holden seems to deliberate his personality and interests at many points throughout the story but doesn’t find a place for himself. Hence he mentions going to Vermont once and the other time to Colorado to get a shot at living the way he desires.
The plot was flat and all over the place.
Holden’s narration can be irritating, his way of speech and the way he repeats certain phrases gets on your nerves because for 130 pages he has the same reaction to many scenarios.
There are many coming of age books out there or books that have a main character who thinks differently from the masses and in my opinion, this one is in no way the best among them.
The setting and plot are devoid of any depth.
Holden seemed to me a bit of a hypocrite. It almost seems that he despises the things in others what are also within himself. He complains of everyone being ‘phony’ but himself tries to be suave with girls when he doesn’t feel like appearing so.
He hates when Stradlater uses smooth talk to win girls over but he does so himself on multiple occasions.
The swearing in the book isn’t good for young audiences, neither is the descriptiveness of Holden’s thoughts around girls.
If the author had been going anywhere with it, everything would’ve been agreeable. But by the end of the book, it seems for naught and the plot remains unfulfilling.
Rating : 1/5 stars
For anyone who is interested in post World War II fiction or needs to read this book for school, you can get it from Amazon : https://amzn.to/2KZOhlE