This week’s Throwback Thursday is that classic tale of teenage angst and rebellion: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
Catcher follows the adventures of Holden Caulfield, freshly expelled from his prep school, as he hides out in New York over a few days (before his parents find out).
Now, this ain’t much of a plot for a classic, instead, what separates it from the rest of the teenage angst and rebellion novels you’ve ever read is his style. Just check out this opening line:
“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.”
The whole book is like this. God it’s beautiful.
I can see why teenagers everywhere gravitate to it (hell, its why I gravitated to it). A book about finding where you belong in life when you’re neither a kid nor an adult will always strike a chord if you read it in your formative years.
What surprises me when I look it over again is just how fresh it still is. Every sentence drips with attitude. There are a thousand great bits in it – I bet if you asked ten different people their favourite part, they’d give you give you ten different answers. Like this:
“If you had a million years to do it in, you couldn’t rub out even half the “Fuck you” signs in the world. It’s impossible.”
Highly recommended. If you’re a teenager, because it might help you, “find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there. But immediately. You can’t afford to lose a minute. Not you.”
For everyone else, just read it for the fun of it. It’s still beautiful after all these years.