I guess part of what makes Catcher In The Rye a novel that has stuck with people over the years is its ability to get people to talk.
I've come across people over the past few days that have very strong feelings about the book, or its characters. Last night, a fellow I know but who is usually reserved caught me on my way to record the news and said, "So you didn't like Catcher In The Rye?"
I paused, "Well, it's more I didn't care for the main character."
"I love that book. I first read it my sophomore year and have read it every year since. There's something different I get each time for it. My opinions toward Holden have changed over the years too. When I first read the book, he was older than me. And as I got to that age, it made sense. Now, when I read it I have pity for him. I can see if people were just reading it now, as adults, how he might be unlikeable."
He snubbed out the end of his cigarette as I turned the key in the door to the station, both of us leaving to go back to our jobs.
I like that the book creates such strong reactions in people. I may not like Holden Caulfield, but he gives me something to think about. There may be books written since then that are better representations of teen angst and what it's like to be a teenager, but this was one isn't so terrible. Plus, it gives us something to compare to show us how we've changed and have stayed the same when it comes to young adult literature and attitudes.