When looking over the list of 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die the 1 question that always arises is “why these novels?”. There are many on the list that I think everyone would agree are classics, such as War and Peace, but there are also many books that haven’t made the list that people may make a strong case for, such as Dune by Frank Herbert.
There are also many books that did make the 1,001 list, but for the life of me I can’t understand why! The Catcher in the Rye is one of these novels.
I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but I just don’t see why the story of 16 year old Holden Caulfield spending 2 days larking about New York in a somewhat limp rebel fashion is so popular!
I guess you could say that this novel is the perfect example of teenage cynicism, with Holden being kicked out of school and giving everyone lip, and many people believe that The Catcher in the Rye is the perfect representation of the time, but for me, to be a true great classic a novel needs to be more than this.
It is fine to say that this novel is the perfect time piece but there are many great novels that represent their time and are also a great tale, such as Great Expectations and Crime and Punishment.
For me, The Catcher in the Rye has been hyped up more than it deserves, maybe because it was the infamous book Mark Chapman was holding when he killed John Lennon, and although it is much better than a lot of modern novels, I am not sure it fully deserves its place on this list.
However, I am sure there are hundreds of people who will completely disagree and will think I am utterly stupid! So feel free to criticise me below!