After having somehow managing to slide through high school without ever having read the “classic,” The Catcher in the Rye, I really cannot say that I’m sorry I waited this long.
I don’t have that much to say about the story. I have thought about it from every which angle over the last few days, but I still can’t see the appeal of it besides the fact that it was written by a white man employing a writing style that white men generally did not use in the 50s (when this book was published)…I guess. As for the quality of the writing? Well…it is comedic — it’s laughable how many times the protagonist uses the word “sexy” in this novel. I guess this book is supposed to be groundbreaking for looking at teenage angst and rebellion? Sort of like Rebel Without a Cause in book form (also, not a good movie). Raise your hand if you are tired of seeing/hearing/reading about the made-up problems of middle and upper-middle class white people while those same people create the genuinely violent, oppressive, suffocating issues that impact on colored folks daily. 🙋
This novel is a perfect case study for why we need more mainstream and celebrated minority authors. The fact that our students are still being spoon-fed bullshit like The Catcher in the Rye as a “classic,” while Chimamanda Adichie, Ta-Nahesi Coates, Toni Morrison, Zora Neal Hurston, James Baldwin, are only highlighted during Black History Month is tragic. There isn’t even a Hispanic History Month to highlight Erica Sánchez, Junot Diaz, Carmen Maria Machado, Gabriel García Márquez, or Machado de Assis. Asian writers? Good luck getting past The Joy Luck Club.
Instead of anything by these phenomenal writers, we get The Catcher in the Rye on high school syllabi like clockwork. Dude, fuck the racist white-ass patriarchy that is the literary culture in America. #Thatisall