Has there been a film version?
No. Salinger is dead set against having a movie of this book made due to a bad experience involving the film adaptation of one of his short stories.
Who are the important characters?
Holden Caulfield – a teenage boy and the narrator of the story
Phoebe – Holden’s little sister
Sally – a somewhat loose girl that Holden goes on a date with
Jane Gallagher – a girl Holden knew as a kid, he is a little infatuated with her but she never actually physically appears in the story
What’s it about?
Holden is telling us about his expulsion from Pencey Prep – a private school – and his subsequent trip to New York before he returns to his parents’ house. He relates his opinions on everyone and everything he comes across – usually cynical. He also fills us in on parts of his past, including memories of his brother, Allie, who passed away when Holden was younger.
Why is this book a classic/bestseller?
It’s the quintessential novel of teenage angst and sexuality.
Do I recommend you read this book?
How did this book make my list?
It’s one of the most well-known American novels written in the last 100 years.
Has it won any awards?
It was named one of the Top 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to present by TIME magazine.
“Mothers are all slightly insane.” – p 55
“I like Jesus and all, but I don’t care much for most of the other stuff in the Bible. Take the Disciples, for instance. They annoy the hell out of me, if you want to know the truth. They were all right after Jesus was dead and all, but while He was alive, they were about as much use to Him as a hole in the head.” – p 99
In the past, I’ve tried to read this book and put it down on many occasions. I have never especially liked high school boys, even in high school – and since Holden is supposed to be held as a perfect example of the male mind in high school…you can see where I’m going with this. Profanity doesn’t bother me, and I can take my fair share of sexism…but the arrogance of Holden put together with those two just pushes me into the realm of extreme disgust. I can very well understand why Salinger is a fantastic author – he nails the character of Holden perfectly…and I’d love to read more of his writing. It’s simply that I’d rather read something I didn’t have to experience everyday for four plus years while in high school.