Classic Manly Read: Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye

JD Salinger


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I first “read” Catcher in the Rye when I was a sophomore in high school, but despite my moderately satisfactory exam grades, I admit that I actually read SparkNotes and conned my way through the entire Catcher process. That’s the way it was for me as a teenager: shortcuts and slipping by. I wish I’d actually read this book as a high schooler; I have a feeling I would’ve really connected with Holden Caufield.

Holden is a college student at Prency Prep Academy. Well, he was a student there, but he was a miserable one and we find out very early in the novel that he’s flunked out. Holden is judgmental, critical, and has a generally poor outlook in life. As he narrates the novel, we are awarded with his constantly annoyed inner monologue dubbing nearly everyone he encounters a “phony”. This judgmental attitude propels Holden into numerous scenarios he isn’t quite mature enough for. He acts like he’s an adult – running away to new york without telling his parents, flirting with older ladies, and calling up prostitutes only to become awkwardly uncomfortable and ask to just talk for a while instead – but we quickly understand that he’s just a kid thrust into a “loss of innocence” narrative.

Catcher in the Rye is a masterpiece in character development. Holden’s personal growth is what drives this novel, and it is a hilarious adventure. It is a story of self-discovery and loss of innocence, and even though Holden seems like a whiner and a cynic, his quips and inner thoughts are occasionally pure genius. Comments like “All morons hate it when you call them a moron.” Or, “In my mind, I’m probably the biggest sex maniac you ever saw.”

How can any guy not absolutely love Holden’s mind? Every man who is remotely manly can relate. The social commentary and personal discovery by Mr. Caulfield are the reasons this book is #1 on my Top Ten list. Please go read it. Especially if it’s an assignment.

About APC

Following his days in the Octagon, APC worked for an undisclosed amount of time tracking and studying a colony of Yetis in eastern Nepal (read more about his travels in his memoir, "Backgammon 101: Let the Yeti Win"). Nowadays, he spends his time in Havana fitting model ships inside glass bottles, and counting his gold bullions with his chimpanzee, Don Ultimo.
Currently Reading:
-Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
-East of Eden by John Stienbeck
-Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie

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