The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Sallinger is a coming of age novel that tells the story of a 16 year old boy, Holden Caulfield. After flunking out of his fancy prep school, Holden decides to go to New York to escape the phoniness and affectation of his former life. Holden holds himself on a pedestal of sorts because he thinks he is above most everyone else in society because he is not “phony.” He does not understand how much of the world works and in that sense is extremely immature. While in New York, Holden reunites with old friends and meets new people. It is these experiences that make Holden reflect inward on his own personality, aspirations, and immaturity and “come of age,” per se.
It may be because I read this for school and was forced to annotate and overanalyze the entire novel, but I did not enjoy The Catcher in the Rye. I felt like Holden’s character and the entire book in general was extremely predictable. Furthermore, while I understand it was not Sallinger’s intention to create a conventional, likeable character, for the vast majority of the novel Holden was incredibly annoying, pretentious, and phony. This would make reading the book a frustrating, tedious task because I could not bring myself to sympathize with a hypocritical character with a massive superiority complex. With that said, I do see the draws of this book since it does not over romanticize the life of a teenager like most other stories do and it is very well written. I did also enjoy the ending because Holden finally grew out of his childish mindset and it was heartwarming to see. Nevertheless, I just cannot bring myself to really enjoy a book with such an unlikeable main character and relatively predictable storyline.