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The Cather in the Rye – JD Salinger

March 9, 2011

I remember the first time I read The Catcher in the Rye. I was taking the train home from college. It was an overnight trip leaving San Jose at 7:00 PM and arriving in my hometown at 7:00 AM the next morning. I was so engrossed in what I was reading that I read all night long. I was going through a rebellious phase, trying to “find” myself, resisting authority, and hating much of the pressures society was placing on me, which may have had something to do with me loving this book so much at the time. But several rereads later, this book still holds a very fond place in my heart.

 The Catcher in the Rye is the story of Holden Caulfield, a student at a boarding school in Pennsylvania. Holden has been expelled from a number of schools and is on the verge of being expelled again, when he leaves in the middle of the night and returns to New York. Once back in New York, Holden has a number of adventures involving mishaps with a prostitute, a date with an old girlfriend, and talks with old teachers.

 I think what draws so many people, especially younger people, to the Catcher in the Rye, is that they can relate so easily to Holden Caulfield. I think we have all felt like outsiders at one point or another in our lives. As humans, we have all felt isolated, lonely, and estranged from the world around us. Most of us were angry with our parents and other authoritative figures when we were growing up. This book is just so easy to relate to, especially as an adolescent. As an adult, I can appreciate the book for what it did for me as a struggling teenager. It gave me something to relate to. It gave me perspective. And it gave me optimism for the future.

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