Catcher in the Rye: my thoughts.

WARNING: Spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read the book.

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I finished reading J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye today. Despite being such a short book (at just over 200 pages), I was surprised that I managed to finish it so quickly. I read every day but sparingly – perhaps on the train on the way to work if I’m lucky enough to snag a seat, or sometimes during my lunch hour. (Well, lunch half-hour but sometimes I cheat a little.)

I was also surprised at how easy it was to read. I have this childish preconception that books now dubbed ‘literary classics’ will, simply for that reason, be difficult to read, both in terms of content and language. Fortunately for me, and to my enduring delight, I often find that this is not the case. It was so with Catcher in the Rye: the language and tone of the narrative was very modern-retro, and hilariously pock-marked with the protagonist’s incessant swearing – a combination that had me hooked from the first paragraph.

People have seen me reading this book at work and said things like “Oh I loved that book”, and I’ve found this reaction quite difficult to reconcile with my own. At first I thought it must be because I hadn’t yet finished the book and had missed some vitally cheery ending, but now that I have, I am still unable to be so… effusive about it. It’s not at all that I didn’t like the book – on the contrary, it kept me both entertained and ponderous right through – but when you get right down it is, it’s not exactly a terribly ‘feel-good’ read, is it? In the colourful words of Holden himself, “It certainly didn’t make me feel too gorgeous”. Continue reading Catcher in the Rye: my thoughts.

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From one woman-child to another: A letter to my sweet 16

The_Dancer_by_complejoThe dancer, by complejo

Hi 16,

I’m not going to tell you what’s in store for us. We’ve never believed in future-telling (although it’s always fun to have our palms read – just because it feels so nice and tickly when people trace the lines on our hands) and we’ve never wanted to know what happens to us in the future. That doesn’t change with time, so I’ll respect that.

Let me tell you a little about myself though. Don’t worry – I won’t give too much away. I’ll be 25 in about 6 months and I’m freaking out about that a little. 25 is so old and scary and adult-sounding. I still feel like a kid metaphorically wearing shoes way too big for her.  I still have a lot of unanswered questions – sometimes I feel more 16 than almost-25. So while we’ve changed a lot, we still have a lot in common.

I know 16 was an age of swirling, engulfing insecurities so let me tell you a few things to maybe ease the teen angst a little:

Don’t worry that your grades aren’t perfect. They’re good grades although they’ll never be as high as your siblings’. That’s ok though. You are a different person, although the people around you tend to forget that a little sometimes. Don’t you forget ok? Continue reading From one woman-child to another: A letter to my sweet 16

Liberté

She sits in debris.

Rubble presses into her thighs and she shifts, uncomfortable. She has always enjoyed mess but this is just so vast, she can’t seem to see the end of it. Picking up a shard of glass, she runs her fingers over the jagged edges knowing she will get cut. She does. It is not a deep wound but the spiking pain elicits an involuntary cry from her, even though she was expecting it. She squeezes her thumb, making the little balloon of blood swell and break, sinking into the fine creases of her fingerprint. Pretty, she thinks and then puts her thumb in her mouth, sucking on it like a child as she surveys the damage.

So much to do. So much to sort through. How could she possibly get through this mess? Decide what to store and what to throw away?

*          *          * Continue reading Liberté

I’ll be the sun again

sunshine_by_sabi_krabi
Sunshine, by Sabi-Krabi

Evening. Dusk would hint its imminent arrival, readying the sky for sunset. Shadows would lengthen with the darkening of light and in our shared bedroom, my sister and I would take our cue and switch on all the lights, unable to bear even a slight change in the bright light of day.

My mother – a die-hard environmentalist – would despair at the unabashed lack of conscientiousness in her daughters and our evenings would invariably be peppered with anything from gentle lectures on energy saving to irritated scoldings accompanied by the switching off of some of our lights.

“But we’re children of the light” my sister would protest, leaping about in front of my mother hopefully. My mother would roll her eyes and smile at this defence and I would giggle in spite of myself.

The lights stayed off though.

*          *          * Continue reading I’ll be the sun again