Catcher in the Rye

‘Shivering in the cold, I’m bitter and alone’ – The Good Life (Weezer)

Yeah. First of all, It’s freezing outside. FREEZING. By that, I mean that water when left at outside temperatures for any period of time will turn into ice. I don’t care for cold…. at all.. I prefer to be just a tad short of burning at all times. As it is, I only really have to worry about it when I’m walking to my car, when I’m in the car, and when I’m at work, because work is hella cold. But I do have this heated massage chair pad thinger at work now, and it’s pure joy. They say you’re only supposed to use that thing for up to a half hour at a time, which I took to mean 5 hours or so.. When I finally stand up for lunch, my entire body below my neck (sans my hands) is completely asleep. It’s glorious. Anyway, the house stays nice and warm with the fireplace and all, and my bed is positioned in such a way as to force the hot air from the vent to go right under the covers. So you lovely ladies looking for a warm place to spend the night… yada yada yada.

‘Brando, The King and I, and The Catcher in the Rye’ – We Didn’t Start the Fire (Billy Joel)

At Tuuk‘s (among others.. there were quite a few, I seem to recall) urging, I read Catcher in the Rye this weekend. I started it up late Saturday night, and read about half of it, finally forcing myself to go to sleep, only to wake minutes later and read 2 more chapters before going back to sleep. I spent this afternoon finishing it off. I really didn’t know what to expect… It’s one of those books that’s always spoken about with this aura of respect like it holds some kind of magical power. Crazy people read it and then go and (try to) kill people. Anyway, I read it, and really took to it. (Be warned As I talk about it, I may well spoil it for those of you who’ve never read it.. so if you don’t want to know anything about it, skip this whole section… but come on.. the book has been out forever. I read the thing, and I suck at reading, usually. What’s your excuse?) I’m not going to come out and say that I’m just like Holden, but it’s hard to deny some of the similarities. A few things in particular that caught my attention: First, the book follows Holden’s train of thought, and it wanders from one thing to another… and they all seem loosely connected, but his mind seems to jump so quickly that it takes him forever to get to his original point, if he does at all. Second was Holden’s tendency to hate things… instantly. And for less than great reasons. Some of his reasons I thought were pretty reasonable, but others he just seemed to be ..well.. messed in the head. And by the end, it was really just a matter of time before he hated everything. Just given enough time, even the things that originally made him like something would be the reason he hated it. It was weird, but I understood, and to a point, it made sense to me. Not that I’m the same way, really. But we’re not totally dissimilar in that regard.

Then there were his thoughts about girls… He wasn’t afraid to just say it how it was.. in his own head at the very least. Pretty much, girls were usually a pain, but when they were hot, then he wanted to have sex with them… but he bring himself to have sex with a girl unless he really liked her.. which he couldn’t seem to do, as he tended to find a reason to hate everything. It was a vicious cycle, and made for some interesting and funny observations/statements. As I was reading, I wrote down a few quotes:

That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they’re not much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. Girls. Jesus Christ. They can drive you crazy, They really can.

It’s a funny thing about girls. Every time you mention some guy that’s strictly a bastard–very mean, or very conceited and all–and when you mention it to the girl, she’ll tell you he has an inferiority complex. Maybe he has, but that still doesn’t keep him from being a bastard, in my opinion.

You take somebody that cries their goddam eyes out over phony stuff in the movies, and nine times out of ten they’re mean bastards at heart.

The biggest connection I had with Holden, though, was his habit of becoming sad and depressed from the slightest triggers. He’d be having a fine time, and start to thinking about something, and just instantly become horribly sad, to the point of wanting to die at times. I’ll be honest, I expected him to end up dead at the end of the book, and was quite surprised (and pleased) that he didn’t. Anyway, Holden would think about things way too much, and they’d inevitably make him sad and depressed. Even thinking about happy times made him sad, because the moments were gone. By the end, he would become miserable because he missed the people that, when he was with them, made him miserable. It’s as though his entire mind was designed to find a way to be sad no matter what the situation. Sound familiar? All that to say that I very much enjoyed reading it, and would like to thank all of you that encouraged me to read it, most notably Tuuk,Jplant, and my brother.

I’ve got more to say.. Maybe after the deacon’s meeting tonight.

One thought on “Catcher in the Rye

  1. Catcher in the Rye! One of my favorite books. I remember telling my dad I was reading it and he asked if I’d gotten to the part with the vomity-looking chair yet. I love that chair.

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