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Authentic Urges Portrayed in Connected Short Stories,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Catcher in the Rye (Taschenbuch)
"Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy." -- 1 Corinthians 7:25 (NKJV)
My last reading of The Catcher in the Rye came about 50 years ago. I loved it then for its validation of so many feelings I had about how fake most people were. My friends and I had wonderful discussions about specific chapters that helped draw us closer together.
I didn't feel any need to reread the book until Kenneth Slawenski's new biography of Salinger caused me to wonder what my reaction to the book would be as a new grandfather, rather than as a young teen.
Sometimes rereading a book enjoyed in youth is simply a trip down memory lane. In this case, I found that my memory of the book was quite fresh. Knowing what was coming next caused me to appreciate more of the storytelling skill that connected all the episodes and chapters together. Being older and having read a lot more, I could also appreciate a lot more of the literary references that went over my head before.
Having become a nonfiction author who loves to use stories to convey "truth," the writing craft was much more apparent this time. In particularly, I had failed to appreciate that each chapter is really a short story . . . but that each story proceeds in a sequence that builds into a novel.
On the first reading, I picked up that something was wrong in Holden Caulfield's life. On this reading, that hidden pain screamed out at me.
I also now see parallels to Don Quixote that I missed before because I hadn't yet read that seminal novel.
So what's the story about? In the space of a few hours and two cities, Holden Caulfield stands astride the worlds of childhood innocence and adult cynicism. His desire to do the right thing and to protect the innocence allows him to stretch across that "impossible" chasm. The lessons are much more universal than what a "coming of age" novel usually portrays. The lessons here are more like those in Huckleberry Finn than they are in novels about teens dealing with their angst.
The theme is actually broader than that. As much as Holden is repelled by people, he is also drawn to them. He's making a spiritual pilgrimage from youthful, critical judgment of all into loving all those in God's creation.
Ultimately, it's a beautiful story that will bring out your finest sensibilities. When was the last time that a novel did that for you?
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