The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is a classic book. The novel has been widely controversial in the past, but has become increasingly popular among teens because they can relate to the themes of innocence, identity, belonging, and teen rebellion. It is considered a bildungsroman, or a coming-of-age novel. However, this is debatable, because the main character and narrator Holden Caulfield tries to resist maturity and hold on to his childhood—not the classic protagonist.
Holden has been kicked out of all the schools he has ever been to, and this novel takes place over a few days after getting kicked out of a boarding school just before Christmas break. Still suffering from grief over the death of his brother a few years ago, Holden has trouble connecting with anyone. He sees anyone his age or older as “phony” and the novel shows his struggle, trying to connect with people, whether it be a girl he likes or a classmate. The only person he can really connect with is his little sister Phoebe. Through the novel, Holden realizes he is afraid of adulthood. He wants to retain the innocence that comes with being a kid, and he dreams of being a catcher in the rye, literally catching children as they fall off a cliff that symbolizes childhood and innocence.
Chances are you have read or will read this book in an English class, but if you’re a teen looking for an enjoyable yet classic book, The Catcher in the Rye is an excellent choice!
-Riya (teen blogger)