Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Books of our youth: The Catcher in the Rye

The latest in this series of guest posts about the books that most affected us while we were growing up is from Mindi Scott.

As a teen, my private high school skipped out on most of the required literature that other people my age were reading. But I remember that during my senior year, several of my favorite young actors cited The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger as an all-time-favorite book, so I decided to check it out on my own.


What happened after is that I fell in love. Holden Caulfield's story surprised, amused, and moved me. I found the narration to be so fresh, real, and unlike anything I'd ever read. To be completely honest, I had a huge crush on Holden because he seemed to me to be so fearless, while at the same time, so very sensitive.

Catcher is one of the few books that I've read repeatedly over the years--once as a teen, at least three times while in my twenties, and once while in my thirties (so far). What I'm finding, the older I get, is that while I still enjoy the voice and the writing, Holden himself holds diminished appeal for me with every read. His instability and superior attitude can really grate on my nerves. There's a scene where he judges someone's cheap luggage and I become irritated every time I read it. (Strangely, I know that deep down, that scene is what has inspired me to always carry nice luggage.)

I have no idea how I'll feel about Holden the next time I read Catcher. I strongly suspect that I will never again crush on him the way I did at age 17, but I will always appreciate that J.D. Salinger gave me this character, who inspires me to look at things differently.


Mindi Scott lives with her drummer husband near Seattle, Washington, and is the author of Live Through This (Pulse/10/02/2012) and Freefall (Pulse/2010). Live Through This just received a starred review from Kirkus.

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