I started and finished Catcher In The Rye this past Monday. Somehow, I had made it through my years of schooling without ever having to read that book. A friend who is an English teacher was aghast when she learned I had successfully avoided the novel this long.
Did I like the novel? It wasn't terrible. I can't say I related to Holden Caulfield, but he did remind me of people I know. Despite time, the book somewhat holds up. Had I read this in high school, I probably would have tossed into the same pile as A Separate Peace. I get it, but I found it tedious. I didn't find the characters "likeable." It's hard to not want to smack them upside the head and tell them to sort it out. Of course, not playing by the game is part of the problem for Holden.
Outside the pages, I have friends like this. Everyone does. They were like that in high school, and many haven't changed. It can be frustrating to sit by and not know what to say, or if you should say anything, as you watch a friend continue in manners that are self-defeating, self-destructive, or perhaps merely immature.
Maybe that's why I didn't like "Catcher" so much. I have enough of that in the real world. And maybe I don't like the book because it makes me aware of the fact that people I care about are disappointing to me. I like to think of people in the best light, but it doesn't take away from the fact that we're all flawed. Everyone has to sort things out for themselves, in whatever way they must, but it's hard to sit back and let them do just that.