Classic lit no. three
To use the words of it’s narrator, this goddamn book killed me.
It really did. It moved me to the point where I don’t even know if I can write coherently about it, but I’d feel like I was doing it some great injustice if I didn’t.
The Catcher in the Rye is not so much a work of literature as a conversation. A rather one-sided conversation, one in which I met a boy sat by a carousel at a zoo in New York who told me a story about himself. The sort of conversation that you never want to end, where deep thoughts and feelings come pouring out between swear words and ‘boy, that goddamn nearly killed me’s.’
I think that sometimes a book changes you, and makes you re-evaluate how you’re living. I think other books shock you by slamming into your heart with their plot twists and their revelations and their scenes of death and heartbreak. But the Catcher in the Rye didn’t do these things – It subtly got to me, bit by bit, until by the last page I was so overwhelmed with feelings that I wasn’t sure that I even wanted it to end. I didn’t want it to end, it was magnificent, and I am left in a state of joyful disarray because I don’t think I can pick up another book.
I appreciate that as far as reviews go, this is sadly lacking in substance. I will say something though, just to close – I was watching John Green’s take on this novel in his ‘crash course’ youtube series, and he brought up something interesting. There are two Holden Cauldfields in the Catcher in the Rye – the sixteen-year-old Holden who doesn’t know how to get his words out, and the seventeen year old Holden who does, and tells the story of his younger self. This is something that never really occurred to me when I was reading it, and something which soothed me greatly – the disturbed Holden whom, as a reader, I got to know quite well was able to overcome his demons. The result: a story which will most likely stay with me forever.
If you’ve not already, read it.
It was a work of art.
This is a part of my ‘Becky reads classic lit’ series. To view my other reviews, click the titles below…