Thursday, January 8, 2009

Stop touching me with your long toenails (Alternate title: why midget feet are creepy)


So I just finished reading Catcher in the Rye. And now I'm a bit confused. Hopefully, you, my bloggy friends, can help me.

Now I don't want to go around bashing novels that are considered borderline god-like, but I really don't get this book. And it could be because I'm reading it 15 years too late. I never read it in high school, though I'm not sure why. I remember it being offered, by I think I selected an alternative book that was being offered at the same time. Anyway, I have recently been on a reading frenzy and am trying to go back and read some of the classics that I've never gotten to.

If you've read this book, you know it's a quick read, and that the entire book is about this teenager who is the most miserable, depressed, sonofabitch in Manhattan. Everything makes him angry, annoys him, or makes him want to punch someone in the face (which I can sort of understand).

I get the whole teen angst thing. I've been there. But there is nothing in this novel but whining and bitching and rants. There is also a scene with a prostitute, copious amounts of smoking and drinking, and lots of swearing, which makes it interesting to me that high school students are encouraged to read this. He's obviously hurt, depressed and deeply lonely. And that's all very sad. But I'm truly having a hard time understanding the point of this novel, and why it is such a classic.

Anyone want to chime in and give me some insight here?

PS - you are encouraged to make me feel stupid and all un-literate-like here.

14 comments:

  1. I happen to consider myself a literate person, and I feel the same way about Catcher in the Rye. And I read it in 9th grade, when I was supposed to care. I have hidden my opinion for years, because everyone else thought it was so profound. Well, here's my confession. My name is RB, and I am not a fan of CITR.

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  2. OK, here's my take: it's a miserable piece of shit and most literary types who take themselves too seriously are also miserable pieces of shit so hey, it works.

    There.

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  3. Personally, I read a lot and tend to read "classics." I never liked Catcher in the Rye, much to the dismay of my intellectual peers. I don't care about the hype, I don't care what they say, I don't listen to people who tell me I need to "read it again." I do not like it, Sam I am.

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  4. you know now that I think about this I think Holden Caulfield and Bella from the Twilight books should get it on. They are both whiney bitches, for real.

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  5. I have skillfully avoided the Catcher in the Rye for many years. Probably because I am too busy whining, complaining, smoking and drinking too much. With whores.

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  6. too good to pass up mentioning, my wv was difiest. as in a person who is into defying.Take that Holden.

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  7. I totally read that book as an adult and I have zero recollection of it. I don't remember anything about it AT ALL.

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  8. I teach English for a living (and no, I don't wear big wooden necklaces or seasonal sweaters), and I'm with you. Never understood the party that gets thrown for Catcher in the Rye.
    Personally I think the author knew his audience would never disappear, because whiny people never do.

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  9. I think guys tend to identify with it better than women. It's hard to explain. When I read it in high school, I DETESTED it. Then I went off to a military college and reread it and LOVED it.

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  10. I read this my senior year of high school, and I didn't get it. At all. I had a friend who was in love with it, but she liked it because the kid was so sarcastic and whiny, not really because it's some sort of literary "masterpiece" or whatever. I was expecting to read some amazing, psychological masterpiece his descent into madness, but all I got out of it was some kid's dumb hijinks in NYC and an ending that didn't make sense. As an English major, I've often thought about rereading it to see if I "get it" now... but I usually end up picking up Harry Potter instead.

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  11. Hey Sassy Pants, I left you a present over at my bloggie blog, come and get it :)

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  12. i concur with every sentiment you expressed in this post.

    i'd put CITR in the same category as Citizen Kane- widely acclaimed, yet when you get down to it, they're both just boring and whiny.

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