Books


The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and the main character, Holden Caulfield, are often discussed and referred to, yet there are still a lot of folks who seem to miss the point of the story. I have read reviews that suggest Holden is the epitome of the me generation and a self-centred bore, this really seems to miss the point. If these reviewers had actually read the book properly they would have seen the caring and considerate side of Holden’s character, which was clearly evident in his interactions with the nuns, his past teachers and his sister. Another indication that Holden was not as self-centred as these reviewers claimed is his feelings of sadness about the less than popular students.

 

There is one review I read that touches on a point that is quite possibly the crucial aspect of Holden’s behaviour, his obsession with his deceased brother and the bullied suicide student. These events have obviously had a large impact on Holden and his psyche, this may account for his  indifference towards studying subjects that seem to have no purpose to him.

 

There are a lot of reviews that understandably identify with Holden. Though I am not too sure there are many from as privileged a background as Holden and still as lost as him. Holden is a lost teenager without direction, desire or purpose. He is caught on the cusp of adulthood in a world of high expectations of the privileged, and yet not having any idea what he wants to do or where he wants to go. Haven’t we all been there? I don’t know too many people who knew what they wanted to do or where they wanted to go in their teens, myself included. I really didn’t find direction till I found my love at 35, and I still really haven’t stopped wanting to learn and explore.

 

Yes, Holden does behave badly in some situations, seriously are we all angels? Have we all not carried out deeds that we frown upon as we grow up? Give the guy a break.

 

I hadn’t read this book since I was 14, though I was thinking of reading it in 1980 when Chapman murdered John Lennon, trying to understand what may have triggered him to do so, though I didn’t as I thought it may give credence to this individuals actions. Having reread this as an adult with a mix of experiences in my short life, I read it with fresh eyes and enjoyed it immensely, and no there was nothing in this book that could account for the actions of Chapman in any way shape or form. Yes, I did sympathise and empathise with Holden, I too cannot stand fake people who say things just to look good in front of other people.

 

 

 

I am not sure about you, but I am tired of reading book or movie reviews where the reviewer seems to have completely missed the point of the book or the movie. Yes I do know and understand we all see things differently, but when they complain or say negative things about someones hard work, and have clearly not understood the point, is it the author at fault or their inability to comprehend? Another thing I dislike is telling the story in your review! Review and tell how it made you feel or think, let the reader of your review read the book and find out what happens. So there is no need for me to put a spoiler warning here.

13225035Orpheus Lost – Janette Turner Hospital
Anyway enough ranting, this book is one of those, where most of the reviews on Goodreads seem to actually miss the point and review the vehicle for the story rather than the actual intent of the story. So I will give this a go from my perspective.

It doesn’t matter to me what others say about a book or whether it has won awards or not. The reason I say this, is that often something that is over hyped falls short of expectations and I prefer to take something on its merits without any other “white noise”.

I read the sleeve and thought this looked a good book to read.

The three central characters all have one thing in common, they lost one of their parents at an early age. This is the central binding mechanism around these characters. What the impact would be on your identity if you lost or did not know one of your parents.

Two of these central characters come from the same small town and grew up together. Though their families are from opposite sides of the Yankee divide stretching back to the American civil war times. This brings some challenges in their relationship, and demonstrates some differences in the manner in which their surviving parent brought them up.The third central character is a prodigious musical talent who grew up in the remote parts of Northern Queensland Tabletop mountain region. He too is lost and searching for his identity having never known his father.

This book is partially a love story, part a tale of self-identity, and part a tale of miscommunication and assumptions people make about others just because of the time we live in. This last theme is the one that many of the reviewers focussed on, the third character is part Jew part Lebanese and in the search for himself he becomes embroiled in muslim extremism. Though this is a major part of the story, this is merely a vehicle for weaving the story and helping the reader to comprehend this world through three different sets of eyes.

The book is extremely well written, without being formulaic. I couldn’t put it down, but I didn’t feel the author was putting hooks at the end of each chapter to keep us involved, she merely wove the story well. The only negative thing I can say about the book is some of the sex scenes were not to my liking, as I didn’t feel that this truly fit the nature of the character.
I give this book 4.5/5.

Being born in Yorkshire, and having seen the moors that Emily Bronte describes in her novel only adds to the joy of reading this book. I first read this at 13, after listening to Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights song. I have been a fan of both ever since. (more…)