Friday, September 2, 2016

The Classic that Wasn't

Catcher in the Rye.

I read it. Even finished it. Not because I wanted to. Not because I liked anything I read. I finished that book solely because I had innocent, blind faith that it HAD to get better. Somewhere. Somehow.

It didn't. Ever. How the ever living hell do you write 300 plus pages of some dude whining? I swear to all the gods, Salinger was paid by the word for that piece of kindling. I was (and still am to this day) vastly disappointed that Holden Caufield never DIED in that book.

I get there are people who love this story and this character. Maybe teenage angst wasn't my thing even when I was a teenager.

The other one I loathed and still do is A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Again. Had to finish it. It was on the final. But ye gods and little fishes. Did you know that all of these so called 'classics' by angst-ridden (and now dead) white guys could have been hundreds of pages shorter with just a little Prozac?? Why are despicable characters without any kind of hope of redemption worth any amount of my life energy?

All I can say is these two books totally justified the speed reading course I'd taken in 8th grade. I could not quit those books fast enough and still comprehend enough to write the papers on them that were required. Bleh. Even after all this time, I want to go scrub my hands clean after recalling those stories.

I far and away preferred The Color Purple. And To Kill a Mockingbird. And The Plague. And Wuthering Heights - though how Heathcliff came to be a romantic icon is beyond me. Wrote him up as an illustration of the concept of evil in literature for my English AP exam. All while singing Kate Bush in my head. How did you cope with reading books you disliked for required courses? And do you still force yourself to finish books you don't like?


  1. I share your strong opinions on Catcher in the Rye. Seconded with an Amen!

    1. Maybe saying I am not a literary reader is a tiny bit of an understatement. :D