I wish I was more like: Holden Caulfield

I have decided to start off with a personal favourite. Who doesn’t love The Catcher in the Rye? Okay, a lot of people. In fact whenever I identify it as one of my favourites I am usually met with disappointed sighs or rolled eyes. For me though, the good outweighs the pretentious.

Holden Caulfield, you had me at sentence one.

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of  crap, but I don’t feel like going in to it, if you want to know the truth. 

I suppose it may be my own fault for reading so much Austen (or my mother’s for owning so much Austen) but I just devoured this book for its voice. Holden was speaking to me in a language I understood. Bob Dylan once said he admired performers who had eyes that said ‘I know something you don’t know’. I think Holden would have been somebody like that – and he was letting me in on the secret.

The moment I knew I wanted to marry Holden was a little further in, about chapter four, when he recounts his relationship with Jane Gallagher. You have to love a guy that notices the little things, especially when he stands up to a jerk who doesn’t.

I told him he thought he could give the time to anybody he felt like. I told him he didn’t even care if a girl kept all her kings in the back row or not, and the reason he didn’t care was because he was a goddam stupid moron.

Cue swoon. Truth be told, I haven’t been known to keep all my kings in the back row, but reading this book made me re think my strategy.

Originally published 5 February 2012

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