Catcher in the Rye, paved the way for Orange is the New Black


Today is Throwback Thursday, and that means it’s time for another book review 🙂 Today’s book selection is J.D. Salinger’s ‘Catcher in the Rye’, a 1952 classic novel detailing the angst and feelings of alienation people go through especially in the teen years. This book spoke to me when I first read it in high school, and it continues to speak to me long past my teen years.

To summarize, the book is told from the prospective of Holden Caulfield, a sixteen year old that is on the verge of being expelled from his latest school and his adventures a few days before Christmas. For those that prefer a third person vs a first person perspective, be warned that this is told from a first person point of view.  Normally, I prefer third person especially the omnipresent one, but this story is best told in first person especially given how the story ends.

The book was released in the early 1950s, during a time when society was portraying the illusion of happy, nuclear families. The fact that the book caused reactions then and especially now doesn’t really surprise me. Sadly, people would rather have the book banned rather then try to analyze why people feel a kinship with the main character. Banning a book rather then analyzing and discussing why this character strikes a chord with readers doesn’t make the problem go away, it actually causes the angst and problem to fester, imho.

To this day, this book continues to speak to me as well as countless other readers of different ages.  It also has influenced several other pieces of work, such as ‘The Perks of Being a Wall Flower’, ‘My So-Called Life’, and also adults fare such as ‘Orange is the New Black’.

When re-reading Catcher, I was struck by the fact that the main character in OITNB, Piper Chapman is like an adult female version of Holden Caulfield. Both come from well off families, both are middle children never really feeling as if they’ve fit in, both have struggled to find their place in the world and due to not fully maturing, have ended up in troubling situations:  Holden in a mental facility and Piper in a women’s prison. Lastly, we are basically seeing these experiences from their point of views.

In conclusion, I would strong recommend reading CITR, because the book will speak to anyone who has ever felt out of place in the world.  One doesn’t have to be a teenager to feel out of place, as evident by Piper in OITNB, which premieres on 6/12/15 on Netflix!


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