I know I shouldn’t have expected much from this book and honestly being someone who is completely obsessed with J.D. Salinger’s classic, The Catcher and the Rye I shouldn’t have picked up this piece of trash (it does not deserve to be called a book) in the first place, but curiosity got the best of me. Actually, that’s not entirely true. The thing is I just really love Holden Caulfield and I’ve missed him and was excited about the possibility of seeing him brought back to life again, even if it was 60 years later, with a new story. However, this isn’t the aged version of Holden Caulfield that I thought it would be.
This piece of trash starts off with Holden Caulfield in a retirement home. He seems to be surprised by the fact that he’s old and I’m left wondering if he has dementia or Alzheimer’s or another degenerative disease. He is really confused which seems out of character for Holden. However, I tried to put that past me and give the book a chance. But the thing is California makes it hard to give this piece of trash a chance because the more you read, the worst it gets.
This piece of trash didn’t really have a plot or a point or a purpose or any kind of organized structure. I guess that explains why the book was self-published (I mean absolutely no offense to those who are actual credible writers that self-publish…I just mean for this guy clearly there were no other options – who would want to publish this garbage under than him?). Most of this piece of trash is just about Holden wandering around aimlessly. He escapes his retirement home and then just goes to New York and Boston and randomly comes across people from his childhood like Stradlater. Phoebe’s there too and Holden’s obsession with her is downright creepy and leaves the reader feeling uncomfortable. I can understand how Holden would still see his sister 60 years later, but Stradlater? Really? And I mean it’s 60 years later – there’s a chance he could’ve even been dead to be honest. The chances of Holden staying in touch are slim to none and the book even seems to acknowledge that in a way; Holden seems surprised to find Stradlater. It doesn’t make much sense; it just feels like the author’s lame attempt to re-write The Catcher in the Rye and you don’t mess with a classic.
There’s some new characters in this piece of trash, too and they come off as well, trashy. Charlie is one of the main characters and I’m totally confused on who she is and why she’s in this sad excuse of a book. I think she was one of Holden’s students? But when was he ever a teacher? Did he ever even go to or finish college? California never addresses those questions – he just randomly places her in the book and the next thing you know she’s having a threesome with her boyfriend and the elderly Holden Caulfield. It’s sick and there’s no reason why it needs to be in the story at all.
Another noteworthy character in this piece of trash is J.D. Salinger himself. Yes, because it’s totally normal to write a spinoff of a book and to throw the original author in their randomly. Sure. Salinger has no purpose in being in this book, but then again neither does anyone else. I have no idea what was even going on in this part of the book. I know Holden found a notebook and he went to return it to his son but his son was J.D. Salinger? Or did I misread it? Does California even know which is which? Sometimes I don’t think he even knows what he’s doing. It made no sense. If Salinger was his son then everything would be backwards. Salinger is older than Holden? I don’t even know…
But I haven’t even gotten to the best part of this trash. Have I told you about Holden’s bladder yet? Now I know it might sound weird for me to talk about Holden’s bladder and you might think it’s something you really don’t need to know about, but trust me when I say that John David California wants you to know about Holden Caulfield’s bladder. In fact, California went so far as to make sure he wrote about Holden’s bladder no less than every 2-3 pages throughout the entire novel. I don’t think this piece of trash has a point at all, but if it did I bet it would probably have something to do with Holden’s bladder.
What do I mean by “Holden’s bladder?” I mean just that. I know every single time Holden has a full bladder, when he think he might have a full bladder, when his bladder is so full it causes him pain, and when he doesn’t realize he has a full bladder until it’s too late. I already mentioned that most of the novel involves Holden aimlessly wandering around. I lied. He’s not “just” aimlessly walking around – he’s also urinating on everything in sight because his bladder is always overflowing and there’s never a bathroom around but if there is one Holden would rather not use it. Why does the reader need to know this? We really don’t, trust me, California. The only reason I can think of as to why the sad excuse of an author decided this was important was because it was a sad attempt to show that Holden is 60 years older and obviously developed urinary incontinence.
California’s portrayal of an elderly Holden is disgraceful at best. He seems to play on the stereotype that all elderly men live in retirement homes, can’t control their bladders, and are confused. This isn’t just stereotyping, it feels like blatant ageism. Holden deserves better than this.
After reading 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye I’m left feeling disgusted and ashamed to even admit I’ve read this. It also makes me want to go rushing back to the original classic The Catcher in the Rye. I bet I’ll love it and appreciate it now more than ever.
I’m also left with two words to say:
I’m sorry to Mr. Salinger who never wanted this book released and who went so far as to have it banned from the US (I had to order it online specially to obtain a copy). I’m sorry for not respecting his wishes. I’m sorry that the book was ever written. I’m sorry the book was published. I’m sorry the book is banned from all parts of the world and that more people are still reading this piece of trash.
Holden deserved better and so did Salinger.
Hey guys! I know you already know by now what I’m going to say; I SUCK at the 30 Day Writing Challenge. It’s May 14th and I’m only on Day 8. But in my defense, at least I’m writing on a regular basis, right? Also, some of my entries have been really long and detailed…one of them even had to be broken in 2 posts!
So anyway, Day 8 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge asks me to write about a book I love and one I don’t.
If you’ve been following my blog, it should come to no surprise that I LOVE The Catcher in the Rye. I mean, I did recently write about how I’m obsessed with J.D. Salinger and everything. If you’ve been following my blog for a longer time, you might even remember my rant on how awful I thought The Hunger Games to be; it’s probably my #1 most hated book of all time.
These two novels are vastly different from one another. However, I can easily compare and contrast them to show why I loved one and hated the other. Here’s why I loved one and hated the other.
I had very different expectations for these two novels. When I first read The Catcher in the Rye, I was a junior in high school. I never heard of the book before. I thought based on the title this book would be about baseball or something. I wasn’t really looking forward to reading it, but I had to for school. I never expected to love it as much as I did.
In contrast, my expectations for The Hunger Games were extremely high. I first read this book my senior year of college, when it was exploding with popularity and the first film was released. I was required to read this book for my Writing Children’s Stories class, but had every intention to read it on my own even if it wasn’t part of my required college reading. I heard so much buzz about this book that I had to see what the big deal was. I also loved the concept/idea around it. I knew it had to do with a dystopian society and it sounded fascinating. However, the book never came close to meeting my expectations. It was incredibly disappointing.
These two books vary greatly on their use of dialogue. Catcher in the Rye has a fair amount of dialogue. The reader gets to see how Holden interacts with several characters including his teachers, Phoebe, Sally, Jane, etc. The dialogue helps to keep the story moving and brings it to life. While the novel is told in first person by Holden and we primarily are exposed to Holden’s thoughts and views, we can still get up close to other characters from the dialogue.
On the other hand, The Hunger Games uses very little dialogue. Katniss tells us what is happening. We also get long chunks of text that describe the setting and scenery. After reading this book I still didn’t feel like I knew Peeta, even though he was one of the main characters. All of the characters were easy to forget and I didn’t connect or relate to any of them. It was a really boring, long-winded story.
Character Driven Vs. Plot Driven
The Catcher in the Rye is definitely a character driven story. There is no doubt about it. Without Holden Caulfield, you have no story. The story is about Holden’s state of mental health, his thoughts, his feelings, and his actions. It makes him easy to remember and connect with. I really love the character driven style.
In contrast, The Hunger Games was definitely plot driven. The story is about a society where food is scarce and there are too many people to feed. The characters really don’t matter that much in this story. You can get rid of Katniss (please do, she is so annoying) and/or Peeta, and still have your story. I felt that with the plot driven story, I could never really get to know the characters all that well. They weren’t memorable or easy to connect or relate to. They were just kind of there taking up space on the page.
I think that the writer’s histories and their own personalities and maybe even the time periods they grew up in had a lot to do with their writing style. It was very very different.
J. D. Salinger is a classic writer, and I have always loved classic novels. Classic writers took their writing VERY seriously, and it shows. Salinger was fanatical about his writing, even if he didn’t publish it all and often said he regretted ever writing Catcher in the Rye. He would lock himself up for hours on hours every single day to write. He didn’t want a life outside of his writing at all. He’d write, revise, edit, rewrite, rinse and repeat. The result? A well-planned, well researched, well-written novel.
Salinger also had one sole purpose for his writing: for his own personal use and enjoyment. I don’t think Salinger’s intention was ever to make a lot of money off of it. I know it probably influenced him (why else would he submit to The New Yorker?), but he hated the fame that came with it. Also, much of his writing is based on personal experience, especially in The Catcher in the Rye. I think his writing was in many ways his way to collect his thoughts and ideas for his own peace of mind/mental health.
Suzanne Collins is a very different kind of writer. She is much less experienced and was likely just writing for fame and money. I don’t see her novel as leaving a lasting impact on people the way Catcher in the Rye did. I also don’t think much of her life was influenced by this novel. The Hunger Games didn’t give me the impression that Collins spent a lot of time doing research or revising her work. Actually, it was just the opposite. The Hunger Games read like a first draft to me. It was very messy and sloppy and as a writer, I was very disappointed in the sloppy writing from this “famous” author.
These are just a few of the differences between The Catcher in the Rye and The Hunger Games that explain why I loved one and hated the other. Have you ever read either (or both) of these novels? What was your opinion of them?
I just finished reading J.D. Salinge’rs The Catcher In The Rye for about the fifth time. For those of you that don’t know me that well, Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye is my all time favorite novel and Holden Caulfield is one of my all time favorite literary characters. I frequently joke about how I wish I could find a boy like Holden Caulfield to marry.
One thing that never fails to amaze me when reading and re-reading this novel is how many things I failed to pick up on before. J. D. Salinger’s classic novel The Catcher In The Rye is packed with a lot of action and a ton of emotion all at once. Here is a list of 5 things I picked up on this time around that I missed the first four times I read it:
1. Holden is extremely selfless and regretful. There are many times throughout the novel when Holden Caulfield seems like a bit of a brat or a cocky teenager, but when it comes down to it most of his problems stem from being a little TOO selfless and regretful.Why does Holden never let his own parents know he got kicked out? Why was he so afraid of them catching him at home when he went to go see Phoebe? Because he feels bad. He feels like a failure for getting kicked out of Pencey Prep. He knows he let his parents down…again. He feels like a horrible son that will never ever be good enough and he just can’t bear the disappointment they will feel for him. He is already regretting getting kicked out and letting everybody down.
Think this is all that Holden Caulfield regrets? Think again. If you really perform a close reading of the text you will find that even more of his problems and his depression may be caused by the regret he feels about his younger brother Allie’s death. He can never seem to stop thinking about Allie. Towards the end of the novel he mentions how he wasn’t able to go to Allie’s funeral because he was in the hospital. He isn’t direct in saying why he was in the hospital, but one can infer that it may have been for mental issues as Holden clearly still possesses those kinds of mental health issues. Holden also seems to have a lot of trouble accepting the fact that Allie is gone. Maybe he regrets not spending enough time with Allie in the past. He did mention earlier in the novel that one time Allie wanted to go somewhere with him (I believe he said it was to the park or something?) but he said no. He may feel bad about that now because he will never have another chance to take Allie anywhere with him.
Sometimes it seems like Holden Caulfield hasn’t realized that Allie is really gone, though.When he visits Phoebe, Phoebe challenges him to state one thing that he really loves. His answer is Allie, but Phoebe is quick to dismiss his answer since Allie isn’t around anymore. This isn’t his only time referencing Allie as if he were still alive. Right before Holden Caulfield suffers from his main breaking point in the novel he shouts out phrases to Allie asking him to save him as if he can hear him or if he is still there. And if that’s not enough for you, Holden has stated that he no longer visits Allie. He doesn’t agree with the way that Allie was buried in the ground and how people such as his parents continue to place flowers on his grave. This common, recognized practiced seems foreign to a mentally disturbed, regretful Holden.
2. Holden’s a bit of a hypochondriac. Remember when he goes to the park and it’s rainy and cold and Holden fears that he will catch pneumonia and die shortly? He is so convinced of the reality of this situation happening. He already makes himself feel bad about dying and thinks about what his parents and Phoebe will think even though he’s no where near sick.
Or what about towards the end of the novel when he picks up the magazine on the park bench and reads about the hormones and what a person with healthy hormones should look like? Holden convinces himself that he looks identical to the guy with the unhealthy hormones. He also continues to read about how people with mouth ulcers that don’t heal quickly may have cancer. The outcome? Yep, Holden overreacts and convinces himself that he not only has cancer, but that he will die in a few weeks.
3. Holden had a horrible childhood. Why else would he be so fascinated in Phoebe and Allie? He seems to want to make sure they have or had good childhoods or he may be seeking to connect with them as a way to get back the childhood he never had. This idea is especially strong with the final scenes at the park with Phoebe. He cries and is amazed by Phoebe on the carousel. Maybe he never had the experience. Maybe it’s something he always wanted but never had, so he is enjoying the experience through Phoebe’s eyes now and maybe that is why he becomes so emotional.
4. Holden may have been molested as a child. When he goes to his old English professor, Mr. Antolini’s house he is completely freaked out when he wakes up and finds Mr. Antoini patting his head. Mr. Antolini didn’t really do anything wrong, but Holden is convinced that he is a pervert that will molest him. He also mentions that he always get into situations with perverts like that, subtly suggestion that he may have been molested by an older man as a child.
5. Holden is an extreme compulsive liar, which is very ironic/a paradox. Holden hates movies and phony people, but he may be the phoniest of them all. I don’t even think it’s possible to keep count of all the lies he tells throughout the novel because there are so many of them. He lies about his age constantly so he can order drinks and a prostitute. He lies to nuns, a classmate’s mother, and even Phoebe (but she is too smart to believe his lie) about getting kicked out of Pencey Prep. He constantly lies about where he is going. Maybe his reasoning for lying so much is because he is so unhappy with his life that he thinks that by lying about it he can create a better version of it for himself.
These are just five new things I picked up on with this past reading. I look forward to reading it a sixth time in the future and discovering even more things I may have missed the first few times. That’s the great things about books, they are full of hidden treasures that you continue to find every time you pick them up and read them.