Writing from an institution, sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield, describes the events that have led to his exhaustion and emotional breakdown.
Caulfield has just been expelled from his Pennsylvania prep school, the Pencey Preparatory Academy. Instead of going home in retreat, he heads in to New York City and checks himself into the Edmont Hotel.
He spends the next three days becoming more and more depressed and in search of connection as he encounters a series of people who leave him with unanswered questions and a sense of being disconnected. These involve spending an evening in a bar with three older women, struggling with an episode with a prostitute, being robbed, calling up an old girlfriend, Sally, talking with a much-admired English teacher and eventually connecting with his younger sister, Phoebe with whom he can share his real feelings.
The reference to the "catcher in the rye" is from Robert Burns' poem which Holden Caulfield interprets as directing him to help children as they head in the direction of falling of a cliff, or losing their innocence. He sees himself as the lone guard who can save them.
A classic story of teenage angst and the search for belonging, meaning and connection and perhaps, self-acceptance.
240 pages 978-0316769488 Ages 15 and up
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com