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Richard Davenport-Hines
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The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger It doesn't happen so often that a book is truly multilayered. This is one of those books. The surface layer is simply a description of a few days in New York, as seen from the viewpoint of 16-year old Holden Caulfield, who just got kicked out of yet another school. His language is typical for a teenager, with lots of repetitions, swear words, and shallow thinking patterns.However, beneath this top layer of misanthropy and finding everything annoying, dull and phony, lies much more. Holden is struggling with growing up, getting to know the world. He is aware that he himself is also annoying, dull and phony quite often. Many grown-up ideas can be distinguished if you scratch through this 16-year old surface layer. As if Holden is coming of age without realizing it himself.In any case, it is amazing how Salinger manages to put all this in an amusing and easily readable story about nothing more than three lousy days in New York. A very good job indeed, and a book worth rereading several times. The older you get, the more there is to discover inside.