2010: 121. The Catcher in the Rye

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

         Last but not least, I re-read old Catcher in my continuing quest (not realized in 2010, alas) to read all those Modern Library top 100 novels.  I have to say, that as “favorite books when I was sixteen” go, Gatsby holds up better than Catcher.  But I am not a Catcher hater, as so many grown ups are.  Although I do not think it is the most profound book ever (nor do I think this about Franny and Zoey or Nine Stories, or certainly not Seymour, An Introduction), I like it.  I like poor old Holden Caulfield.  I feel bad for him - I feel like Mr. Antolini* - I want to pat his head while he sleeps.  I mean, I feel maternal towards him.  And I love old Phoebe - even if the precious young girl who is pure enough to save you is 1) a bit of a trope in Salinger’s work and 2) super creepy in light of what we now know about Salinger, I still think she’s the best.  I just think about this poor boy whose brother died and how it ruined him for dealing with the pretensions of society.  In a lot of ways, Holden and Dean Moriarty are kindred spirits - except, oh, right, Holden is sixteen and acting like a teenager, not a grown man who is the father of at least two.  Old crummy Holden Caulfield.  I can’t help but be fond of him and his book.  

          Who we can all agree was no way no how making a pass at Holden, but just saw him as the little boy that he is, right? And even Holden knows that, right?

Categories:  Fiction, Modern Library Top 100, Re-Read

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017