This month’s theme for NaBloPoMo is ‘routine’ , so I figured I should do a ‘Bookmark’-post.What’s more routine (or boring) coming from me, yeah?
I defy you to call this book boring, though.Catcher in the Rye by J.D.Salinger is a book that stalked me until I finally gave in and bought a copy already.
A book that opens with
“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, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.”
hardly requires recommending, but I shall persist.Holden Caulfield is both narrator and lead character of this “story” that reads more like the inside of his head for all its “classic novel” status. He is a cynical teenager who has been expelled from a few schools, and at the start of the novel runs away from this last one ( Pencey Prep). He classes himself as a failure in every subject except for English, for which every Holden child seems to have inclination. This only adds fuel to fire as he already finds the adult world “phony”, and decides to catch a train to New York , although he does not inform his family of this, imagining (correctly) that the consequences could be nothing pleasant. New york disappoints him with more ‘phoniness’ , and he indulges in some, himself. Eventually, he sneaks home to see his younger sister, Phoebe, whom he clearly adores, and who is also almost the only person he seems to want to communicate with (the lack of phoniness helps, I suppose). He then decides to stay with the Antolinis -Mr.Antolini was a former English teacher and good friend. He is disturbed by Antonlini’s patting his head while asleep and leaves his house only to wander the city. Finally, he tells Phoebe that he plans to head west.His sister wants desperately to go with him, but he refuses. To pacify the girl, he takes her to Central Park Zoo, where he observes her thrill as she rides the carousel. The author chooses not to reveal Holden’s final decision, only saying that he “feels sick ” and will attend yet another school in September. Holden seems even to miss his phony roomies, although his attitusde is not much altered.
Put like that, the story is nothing special, but its charm lies in Holden’s slang and the incredibly honest style of writing.Further, his unreliable sense of perception leaves lots of room for interpretation and debate. He is most definitely an unforgettable character and reason enough for the book’s Cult label.
Bottom line: Must read,five stars.. in Holden’s own words ” It kills me”.
If after all that, you still need persuading, I’ll borrow the author’s words:
“Boy, when you’re dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddamn cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.”
“Sensitive. That killed me. That guy Morrow was about as sensitive as a toilet seat.”
” Anyway, I’m sort of glad they’ve got the atomic bomb invented. If there’s ever another war, I’m going to sit right the hell on top of it. I’ll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will.”
“He told us we ought to think of Jesus as our buddy and all. He said he talked to Jesus all the time. Even when he was driving in his car. That killed me. I can just see the big phony bastard shifting into first gear and asking Jesus to send him a few more stiffs.
“I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.”
“When I was all set to go, when I had my bags and all, I stood for a while next to the stairs and took a last look down that goddam corridor. I was sort of crying. I don’t know why. I put my red hunting hat on, and turned the peak around to the back, the way I liked it, and then I yelled at the top of my goddam voice, “Sleep tight, ya morons!” I’ll bet I woke up every bastard on the whole floor. Then I got the hell out. Some stupid guy had thrown peanut shells all over the stairs, and I damn near broke my crazy neck.”
“I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would’ve, too, if I’d been sure somebody’d cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn’t want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory.”
“Old Phoebe didn’t even wake up. When the light was … on and all, I sort of looked at her for a while. She was laying there asleep, with her face sort of on the side of the pillow. You take adults, they look lousy when they’re asleep, but kids don’t. Kids look all right. They can even spit allover the pillow and they still look all right.”
“There was this magazine that somebody’d left on the bench … next to me, so I started reading it. It was all about hormones. It described how you should look. I looked exactly like the guy with lousy hormones. So I started getting worried about my hormones. Then I read this other article about how you can tell if you have cancer or not. It said if you had any sores in your mouth that didn’t heal pretty quickly, it was a sign that you probably had cancer. I’d had this sort on the inside of my lip for about two weeks. So I figured I was getting cancer. That magazine was some little cheerer upper.”
” Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”
“He kept saying they were too new and bourgeois. That was his favorite goddamn word. He read it somewhere or heard it somewhere, Everything I had was bourgeois as hell. Even my fountain pen was bourgeois. He borrowed it off me all the time, but it was bourgeois anyway.”
“I was half in love with her by the time we sat down. That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they’re not much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. Girls. Jesus Christ. They can drive you crazy. They really can.”
OK, there’s probably a word limit on this thing, somewhere so I will stop. Not because I want to, though.God, this stuff just kills me, it does!