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Banned Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye

October 26, 2005

13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Reason: the use of offensive language, premarital sex, alcohol abuse, and prostitution.

J.D. Salinger’s writing style allows the reader to get inside the heads of his characters in a way that few writers can.  The landscape of the character’s thoughts, emotions, and motivations roll out like a trail through a dark forest.  And in the case of The Catcher in the Rye, the forest is dark indeed.  Holden Caulfield is a directionless young man who has dropped out of yet another school and decides to spend a few days in New York City.  Holden drinks, cusses, thinks of people as “phonies,” and hires himself a prostitute.  Buried under all of that is a sweetly confused young man trying to transition from childhood to adulthood, despite his confused and sometimes contradictory nature.  The book is told in a stream of consciousness style, but the consciousness is Holden’s own, and often rife with choppy and disjointed reasoning.  It is controversial, classic, and often speaks to those people who find themselves in a world filled with people they can’t relate to.  Good for teens and adults alike.

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