A lot of writers have been born from books like Harry Potter and even Twilight. But, long before those books fell into our hands and hearts, there were many other amazing books that taught us something about what we call the human condition.
In today’s society, I find that like me, many are looking for a place to run away to, to escape into. The hardships of growing up never really stop. When you are fifteen, you think you can’t wait till you get older. And inevitably, when you get older you wonder why you ever wanted to have to deal with all these “adult” problems. All the challenges in our lives are like the fire that tempers the metal, only making us stronger with each and every challenge. Books are like magnifying glasses on these challenges.
So in looking back on books that have made such an impact, I’ll introduce you to one of my absolute favorites: Catcher in the Rye. A lot of people read it in high school or maybe even college, but a greater number have still never read it.
I recommend this book because of the “coming of age” style of it. You start reading it and you’re simply not sure what you’ve gotten yourself into. The vernacular is that of a 17 year-old Holden Caulfield. This is one of the few books where I would tolerate over using of words, as it is part of the protagonists inner dialogue.
But, this book gives an in-depth look at the struggle that YA face in growing older. It shows the vulnerability of youth who think they are ready to face the “real world”, and when they come face to face with it, realize they would rather dial back the years before they knew what they know now. Life is dirty and tough and we are seldom prepared for what is laid before us.
The title of this book is one I’ve used a lot in my own life. The “Catcher in the Rye” is a not so hidden metaphor for how Holden doesn’t want kids to grow up. He says he’s like the catcher in a rye field, trying to stop the kids from going over a cliff that they cannot see because the rye is too tall and hides the inevitable fall.
For those who haven’t read it, this book really grasps the truth of what growing up really means. In Harry Potter, we see the strength within all of us, when we have no real choice but to either rise to the occasion or lie down in pre-dug graves. In Catcher in the Rye, we are shown a different enemy: time. We are brought back to those moments where we think we are ready to move forward, or like Holden who has no choice but to grow up. And as we cannot escape time, we can either rise to meet it, rush ahead of ourselves, or just let life pass us by.