Saturday, 23 March 2013

Challenge - The Catcher in the Rye

Image sourced from here
I try and make it a habit not to discuss overly discussed books. Although I don't think it would be fair of me to read this book without allowing myself the opportunity to respond to it.

I have heard about this book for years. It was one of the books I had to have read. It was one of the ones I *should* have read. I get so annoyed I had my 5 year hiatus of reading in my teenage years. I read one or two things, and read things for English at school. But after years of being ridiculed at primary school for reading and knowing things, I was determined not to in high school in order to fit in. It kind of worked. Until I read a book I loved and then devoured it with a rabid hunger that was screaming to be fed. I should have taken the hint I was a junky, but I was 14. I knew better.

The problem with this now, is that I am over 5 years behind on my reading (going on my stats from the last two years, averaging 20 books a year, that's 100 books I could have read). And when you are 5 years behind, there is a lot of reading you postpone again and again. Catcher was one of these.

I loved and hated Holden. There were things he said that I though were brilliant and I could not believe that a 17 year old could have said. There were moments where I wanted to slap him upside the face and give him a good shake. I thought long and hard since I finished it what 17 year old Rusalka would have though of him, and I don't think she would think much differently. She was a bit of a prude, although had a thing for the bad boys. God knows really. But the fundamental frustration and intrigue I think would have been similar.

I loved the bit though where he is talking to at the moment unnamed source (spoilers!) about the concept where the name of novel came from. That was beautiful. That was the part 17 year old me would have fallen in love. That's the main part of the book that felt real. However the rest of the book I wanted to kill him. He was so frustrating. And I know 17 year old Rus would have felt the same. We, her and I, have always had a small amount of patience for boys with self important bullshit.

In the end I can see why this book was mind blowing when it was written. I can see why 13 year olds may flock to it. But in a present day world. I don't quiet get it. Maybe it is the late 20s me that doesn't get it too. But I feel that great books can speak to you no matter your age, even if you can see that you would have loved it more at XX age. I'm glad I read it, but a little overhyped. I'm expecting to be burnt at the stake so go for it ;)

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