Review: ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ Chapters 1-3

People always tell you to never judge a book by its cover. Contradictorily, many have gone even further and judge a book simply by its name. “The Catcher in the Rye,”  written by J.D. Salinger, has become pages and binding covered in controversy, hate and mystery. A thick line lays between those who are disgusted at the book’s very name and those who live and swear by the 1950s novel.

Now, it’s my turn. We have begun the deep dive into this book as a part of my AP English class, and the thought of reading it stirred up a lot of reactions from my class. Personally, I was excited about reading the book with the class. I owned the book already and liked the concept of being able to discuss the sarcasm and hypocrisy with my peers.

However, as I came to find out today, some of my classmates and their parents were quite appalled at the concept. It seemed a line was already being drawn between two different sides of the class, all before we had read the first words.

Taking baby steps, we were assigned to read the first three chapters. Immediately, I was struck by just the opening paragraph. The voice and personality of the main character, Holden, amazed me. I have never read a book where the character is not only so developed but so real to life.

As my teacher, Ms. Fay, had said at the very beginning, you find that you either hate Holden or love him. I can’t say that I love him as a person; though, I love the unique character he is.

As I read Holden discussing how he got to where he is, I immediately developed a deep understanding with Holden. He rambles and rants as if he is just another teenager holding a conversation with the reader.

Reading on, you uncover that he is a liar, a hypocrite, horridly distracted, full of himself, cynical and much like every other teenager. Many of his defining characteristics I find in myself, whether I like them or not.

Only being 35 pages into the book, I’m excited to truly delve into Holden’s story about “all this madman stuff.” Yet, even more so, I think I’m excited to find which side of the line my classmates choose to stand on.