This is our very first monthly article about the book we read together and we're super excited about it!

So, as you could see, the first book we chose was "The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger and the three of us had pretty different opinions about it.

synopsis
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The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty, but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adults voices, underground voices - but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

*that's the official synopsis on goodreads

the importance
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The protagonist is always important for a story but in this specific novel he is even more important, as I am about to explain.

All of the importance of this novel, and by that I don't only mean inside the plot, but outside as well, is attributed in due to this revolutionary character, Holden Caulfield. But what is so special about him? Well, have in mind that the book was published in 1951 and by that time many topics we openly talk about today weren't well accepted. One of them is s*x. Holden does not worry about it; he is not afraid to say to the reader what people couldn't in real life, what made of him an interesting character at the time, and still nowadays.

However, this still isn't the main part of the reason. Let's take a look at the mentality of society at 1951, and I don't mean all problems like s*xism or homophobia, I mean the scientific sphere. You remember that Holden is sixteen years old, don't you? Well, nowadays we say he is a teenager or an adolescent, but this concept took a while to be accepted by psychology and this book perfectly shows that. Because Holden is the typical teenager: he is obscene, he hates everything and everyone, he explodes for the least important things and doesn't care about the ones that matter the most. So, he is obviously not a child, since he does adult things but he is still really irresponsible. That's why he is somewhere between, in the adolescence. And this book that seems so simple and without importance, actually helped people to understand better this difficult, but essential phase everyone goes through.

And the best part is that Holden wouldn't give a f*ck if he knew that.

mental disorders
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warning: this topic may contain spoilers for you.

If you read the book, you'll realize Holden probably has some sort of mental disorder, even though it is never said in the book. However, it is almost an agreement that he has it and personally I agree. So, here we go:

what does he have?
Again, we don't know for sure but he has many symptoms of the following: depression; since he uses the term to describe his feelings many times and it seems like something he feels all the time. And it is completely understandable. Other thing he probably suffer from is anxiety, this one we can see through his actions, that seem pretty insane sometimes. Holden is emotionally unstable because of the combination of these two and the next one is the icing on the cake. Post-traumatic stress disorder. He does not only shows the symptoms, but he also had been through things that could have caused that.
why does he have it?
Here's the part that may have spoilers.
Mental disorders are hard to deal with and sometimes there isn't a clear cause. But in Holden's case I believe there is. The first obvious connection is with his brother's death; I mean, it is both, sad and traumatic. Losing a brother is never easy, but in this specific case it is even harder, because they two had a pretty strong relationship. Holden even says Allie, his brother, was his favourite person ever and it is clear he misses his brother. Unfortunately, this situation led him to explode once, breaking his parents' car windows. That's one of the evidences of that lack of stability that can help us to understand his actions better.
quotes
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This book has some good quotes, so I decided to bring some to give you all a little taste of the book.

“I can't explain what I mean. And even if I could, I'm not sure I'd feel like it.”
“I think that one of these days...you’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there. But immediately. You can’t afford to lose a minute. Not you.”
“When you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write 'f*ck you' right under your nose.”
“The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move. . . . Nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you.”
“Lots of times you don’t know what interests you most till you start talking.”
“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”
“People never notice anything.”
“I was trying to feel some kind of good-bye. I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don’t care if it’s a sad good-bye or a bad good-bye, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t you feel even worse.”
“Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”
“People always clap for the wrong things.”
“I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.”
curiosities
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Many classics have some creepy stories behind them, either involving the author, or not. And this book is not an exception, actually, some consider it the favourite book of murderers. So I thought it'd be interesting to bring some of these stories here. (Don't take it so serious, some don't even have any concrete evidence that it had some direct connection with the book.)

john lennon
This is the most famous story, since it even influenced others on this list. Everyone knows that Mark Chapman, a fan of The Beatles, murdered John Lennon, but did you know that this book made him do it? Every book is different for everyone and revolutionary books in the wrong hands cause damage sometimes. Like this time. Chapman, after reading the book, came to the conclusion that the only way to keep Lennon's innocence was by murdering him. He was so obsessed with this book that when the police arrived at the crime scene, he was reading it out loud. And it is even said that he wanted to change his name to Holden Caulfield.
ronald reagan
Yes, one of the presidents of US suffered a murder attempt by John Hinckley Jr., who also had a copy of this book at home. People say he already had the idea and only needed a trigger to actually do it. Luckily, it didn't turn out so well and it happened to be only an attempt.
rebecca schaeffer
Robert Bardo had been obsessed with the actress for three years and had even been stalking her for this time. He visited her house and was obviously rejected, leading him to come back later in that day and shooting her when she opened the door. And he was with the book with him all the time.

These are the most famous stories surrounding The Catcher in the Rye and there is still a discussion going on: is this book triggering for potential murderers? Many believe so and the book is even banned in some places because of these stories.

reviews
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gabi
★★★★★
For some reason, I'd always thought that this book would be unbearable. I could swear it took place in the country side (probably because of the title), but I still hoped I'd like it, even though I wouldn't read it so soon if it wasn't for Linn. And I'm so glad I did.
My idea about the book couldn't be more wrong and I realized it in the first chapters.
The writing is pretty simple and informal, it is an essential element to the whole novel, since it explores the teenage years. It's incredibly pleasurable to read and gets you hella entertained. It makes you laugh, feel and think, always with a tone of humor.
The whole plot is a bit messy, which makes it all even better. You didn't expect an organized mind of a sixteen year old, did you? We feel like we spend a weekend with a good friend of ours, and we do have a lot of fun. It is hilarious. Holden's thoughts made me laugh so hard sometimes I had to put the book aside and take a breath.
But the best part is Holden. Don't let me start talking about this kid I absolutely fell in love with. And I don't even like men. Not that I'd like him if he existed, but he got charm and he's such an interesting character to read about. Possibly one of my favourites ever. I love how he's only mean with who he believes that deserves it, and he can actually be very nice under all that sarcasm.
For me, the book deserved five stars because I related to it in a spiritual level. As a teenager, I can see myself in Holden's thoughts, ideas and actions. I see my city in NY and my brother in his siblings. That's probably something that touched me the most. I have a little brother and losing him is the worst thing I can imagine happening to me. Just like for Holden. But it happened anyways. It shows how we're not in control of our lives at all, something we tend to forget in our comfort lives that is good to remember sometimes.
amanda
★★★☆☆
(actually 3.5 stars but I think there isn't a half star symbol, so here we go.)
When I heard about this book, I thought it would be boring and uninteresting. I didn't think that I would identify in so many ways with a character like Holden.
He's a lost teenager. Something that I am also somehow.
Like every teenager, he faces the difficulties of questioning himself and others about him.
I thought like him when I was younger. "Adults shouldn't do something like that, they shouldn't think like that, when I'm an adult, I won't be like that."
I believe that we all thought that way when we were younger.
Holden criticized many things about some people, but I noticed that he did them at some point. But I noticed that he was just a lost teenager. And with a slightly complicated life story.
Holden did not return home immediately because he was afraid of his parents' reaction. I would also be at his age. I was scared when teachers said they were going to call my parents to talk with or when parent and teacher meetings were scheduled and they could say something that I did wrong to my parents.
The difference is we learn to deal with things like that as time goes by.
Another thing I always wanted when I was younger was to change the world in some way. My parents probably had this thought when they were younger, and several other children too.
Not everyone can do that and, well, society doesn't help either. The society at the time of Holden was difficult, cold and without feelings, manipulated by themselves. I don't see much difference today. But it is up to us to decide to change or give up and follow what is being done.
And when Holden draws an analogy with him considering himself a catcher in the rye, I felt fragile. His analogy is that he is the only older person who can prevent children from running over the precipice to fall.
I have a younger brother and would hate to see him lost someday. But I know that it is a phase that most people go through. I passed, I still pass.
I always give advice to my youngest friends about the future and their lives. I feel responsible, being older, for talking to them about some things.
This is inevitable to happen.
My teachers did this to me. I was very close to a math teacher when I was in high school. I considered him my second father. When I ended up in a situation that could have been minimized with the help of an adult and he found out, he was extremely upset that I didn't speak to him. For not telling and saving it for me and trying to solve it the way I wanted.
I understand his concern at the time, it is the same concern that I have with my younger friends and my brother. But we won't always have someone on the precipice to stop us from jumping out of the rye. This is sad, but it is the reality. I would like to prevent my brother from suffering for the first broken heart, but I know it will be inevitable. Unfortunately.
I liked the Holden analogy, but it should come with a little more history. We are not always able to hold all the kids jumping over the edge. And sometimes, the ones that we hold, are the ones that need to jump. And the ones that jump are the ones that needed to be held for a while longer.
We are all going to fall from the rye. We will not always have someone to hold us 100% of the time.
Life is divided into several fields of rye. Sometimes there is someone to hold us, sometimes not. It is up to us to learn how to deal with falls.
linn
★★★☆☆
I had really high expectations on this book. It has been on my to be read list for years. Although I enjoyed the book, it was disappointing. I thought this book was going to be a great adolescent and teenage book. But I found it rather boring. I loved the main character Holden, but the story was pretty boring. I enjoyed the parts where he was reflecting and thinking about life, and the quotes were great but the overall story was boring. This book was memorable but not enough to make me think about it at random. I’m happy I read it since it’s a classic.

that's it for today <3 thanks for reading and stay safe!

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gabi
amanda
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