I had heard that this was a book best read when you are yourself an angsty teenager. I am very far removed from my teenage years, but I remember quite clearly how I felt back then, so thought it might just be a book I could get along with. It has felt like a glaring hole in my book back catalogue, especially considering many people had read it at school (I got Silas Marner – George Eliot. From this I learnt what a cataleptic fit is). I like teenage rebellion (don’t tell my students or my children!) and sticking two fingers up at authority figures, society and the world.
Yet I really did not enjoy this book. I found Holden Caulfield annoying (as does almost everyone he interacts with in the book – he’s frequently being told to be quiet, which is actually pretty funny). Maybe it’s because I’ve been teaching for ten years and I can picture the many Holden Caulfield’s who’ve frustratingly refused to produce work when they are more than capable of doing well. Maybe because my personal form of teenage rebellion was to dress in an unusual way and listen to hardcore punk rock while simultaneously doing well at school, college and university. Holden’s rebellion is to annoy people, do badly at school, cry quite a lot and go within walking distance of his parents house for a few days. I’m just not very excited by this, Holden!
It’s been suggested that this is a book that male readers identify with more than female ones. A cursory look at the ratings given by my goodreads friends suggests this isn’t true. I don’t think it’s that simple to say I didn’t like it because I’m not a man. I have read every single Sharpe books fgs and simply find the simplification tired and an oversimplification.
The great thing about this book is it’s quite short (just under 200 pages) and I can tick off one of my reading list book challenge books. I’m also now ahead on my target to read a book a week this year. Hoorah!