Why did you pick this book to read?
I have heard and seen this book on a lot of "must read" book lists. I had no idea what the book was about, but I know there was a good reason to mark it as a classic. Sometimes I like knowing nothing about a book before I read it, that way as I read, everything is new to me.
Summarize the plot without giving away the ending.
The book follows Holden Caulfield, a 17-year-old kid that had just been kicked out of Pencey Prep. The scene is set right before Christmas break and he decides to split from school early to stay in New York, because he knows he'd be going home to a disappointed family. Holden was a very strange character to me at first. He struggled with a lot of depression and self doubt; but on the flip side he's negative, hypocritical and doesn't have a lot of social skills. The entire book takes place over the span of a few days. He calls up friends, converses with strangers and only has a few days to figure out how he's going to tell his parents that he yet again, flunked out of school.
How was your experience reading the book? Were you sad, happy, angry? Was it slow or engaging?
It's written exactly how you would imagine a 17 year old would write. Throughout the story I kept getting so frustrated with Holden! He felt like a little brother to me, sometimes I wanted to slap him and other moments I'd want to hug him. It depicts perfectly how weird and difficult growing up can be. You've got a lot to figure out during your teenage years and it's not always easy. I think the book kept a fairly steady pace, but it took me a couple chapters to get into it.
Who was your favorite character?
Phoebe. Hands down. Phoebe is the most perfect little sister anyone could ask for. She probably had the least amount of words, but she (in my opinion) is the most important character. She may in some way saved Holden's life. She was smart and quick witted. She loved all things that made her happy and looked at the positive in every day. She was a huge support for Holden, probably the most support that he ever had from anyone.
Do you have a favorite passage or quote?
"The mark of an immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one." - Mr. Antolini quoting Wilhelm Stekel
Was the ending satisfying?
Very much so. Near the last chapters, I couldn't put the book down. The ending was perfect. I actually couldn't stop smiling while I was reading the end. It gives a good message. Since Holden was the writer, he ended it the way he would, not with some fancy wording, but his own way. The flow was continuous throughout the book and it was great. I'm SO glad I read this book!
Do you like the title for the book? Would you change it?
The title is perfect. I captures the entire book in a single phrase. You have no idea why the title is the title throughout the entire book. It isn't until the last few chapters that you figure out the origin of it.
What was the book's central question and how was it answered?
It's hard to pinpoint a "central" question, because the whole book was multiple questions. Holden had no idea where he was going or what he wanted to do. He had been kicked out of school, didn't get good grades, didn't really play nice with people or really know how keep/make friends, he didn't have a whole lot going for him. He thought about leaving and starting somewhere new, but he was only trying to run away.
What was the theme or overall meaning you got from the book?
You follow Holden through that moment that everyone has/will experience where you have to decide to let go of being a child and start making those tough adult decisions that are going to project you forward in your life. Holden is like a protector of innocence. He has seen many things in the past and analyzes a lot of people reactions and emotions. He wants what all of us want, for things to be simple, but that won't ever be the case. You don't have to be ready, but you do have to brave enough to take a leap of faith.
Would you recommend this book?
Absolutely. Everyone should read this book, especially young adults. It does take place in the 1950s, so readers can get a glimpse of what life could've been like back then; but, more importantly it shares the message that every kid needs to hear.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
What should I read next?
Thanks for Reading