- J. D. Salinger (author)
- Penguin Books
- Publication year:
- Original publication year:
Holden Caulfield is doing poorly in school, being kicked out of school after school. This new school is no different: Caulfield is being kicked out, but doesn't want to confront his parents about it. He's naive yet street-smart and resourceful, and the book follows his exploits roaming around New York City doing nothing in particular, dreaming, exploring, and horsing around.
The title is referencing a dream that Holden has about catching falling bodies coming off a cliff into a rye field. Holden, when explaining this dream to someone, is misremembering a line from the poem Comin' Thro' the Rye: "If a body catch a body / Comin thro' the rye." The line is actually "If a body meet a body / Comin thro' the rye."
A fascinating read. I especially liked the conversation in the beginning of the book between him and one of his teachers, Mr. Spencer. Mr. Spencer is trying to help Caulfield by giving him practical advice, but Holden is too distracted to really pay attention, in addition to not wanting to be there in the first place. It's funny watching him trying to worm his way out of it.
I think everyone can see something of themselves in Caulfield, even though one doesn't always empathize with him. He's not really a likeable character, but he's charming and funny, and his adventures around New York City makes for an enjoyable read.