If you haven’t already, brace yourself for a spiel.
When I was younger, I was one of those kids who everybody thought was very smart, and who loved to propagate the illusion. I immersed myself in certain topics and studies, and most of all I read books which were far beyond my limitations of comprehension. One of these was The Catcher in the Rye, which I recently reread after many years of thinking it was much ado about nothing.
It’s amazing how much can change; this novel….is something indescribable. I know it has a lot of mythology surrounding it (to do with prominent killers carrying it at the time they were captured, etc), but it truly did reverberate with me at an incredible level.
There were times that I read Holden Caulfield’s thoughts and felt like I was looking in a mirror. For me, he is a person who feels so ostracised, so craving to be loved for who he is, yet who pushes away anybody who ever tries to get close to him; it’s a terrible cycle, and one which is clearly tearing him apart. Also, in my darker months a while ago, this idea of being surrounded by “phonies” was so strong; I felt, as I said to a couple of people, almost like an alien on Earth. The irony being that I felt like I was the only human person I could find; it looked to me like it had become alien to be a human.
Where I go to university, the preoccupation really is sex, drugs and rock and roll. Except maybe instead of the rock and roll, sex drugs and dubstep….and without the grungy appeal of being a musician. Long story short, I’m not it, and I’m not them. Things are a bit better now, I have some people in my life who are quite wonderful, and I’m a lot more on top. Still, I could feel that same nerve being cut when I read how Holden Caulfield was struggling.
He’s also a hypocrite, deep down, and I think he knows it. He hates mendacity and phoniness (which is why he hates films), yet ultimately plays out many of his experiences as though he were an actor. Ultimately I think it probably comes back to that need to feel a connection; to be loved. He hates them for it, but he’ll play the part if it means he’ll get the care he needs.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I read it now, and a lot of the images that were more vivid have grown hazy, but nevertheless, it was an exceptional experience. maybe I’m full of shit and this is all subjective. It hardly matters; personally I believe everything sub-surface (in novels, especially) is subjective.
Anyway, that’s just a brief few thoughts and I’m sure more might pop up as I think about other things. Sending my love out to any other Holden Caulfield’s hiding out there in the world.