Saturday, October 8, 2011

Book Review - The Catcher In The Rye

The Catcher In The Rye is a funny and at the same time sad book to read. It is something in the lines and legacy of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer except this one goes deeper than the surface and is not so idealistic as the Mark Twain's classics. It tells things for what it is, as seen through the eyes of this guy from Pencey (a school) who has just been given the can. 

Not to be let down, he decides to embark on this glorious adventure of liberation and freedom for a few days in New York on his own. He would get drunk, visit women, take it easy, rule the night away. Perfect beatdom in theory. But this is still a young guy and still under the bonds of the limitation and guidelines of his own making as well as of the society. He outsmarts everyone that tells him that he has screwed up his life and is heading for doom (right from the very first chapter to the final episode). But then one can never outsmart oneself and in time he comes to face up with reality and the starkness of his own situation.

The only person that he genuinely cares for is his sister. And it is through his sister that he comes to terms with himself. It wasn't salvation. It wasn't anything miraculous. Just a genuine affection, love for another person despite his messed up outlook of life.

It is hilarious in most pages. I laughed out loud many times. I think it was the honesty and bluntness. Well deservedly one of the best hundred books of all time. 

But if you ask me (say, books are paintings), if Wuthering Heights is a stately painting of Queen Elizabeth, The Catcher In The Rye is more like a street graffitti that city officials wish they can get rid of but instead have turned it into heritage/literature to dissect it and study it so much that all life is sucked out of it. The honesty in the way it is written has turned to a 'style' of literature. The heroical ideas of liberation, turned into a 'phase' of literature. 

Anyway. Great book. A book lover needs to read this atleast once in his life time. Might not be everyone's cup of tea but well worth a try.

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