Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Catcher in the Rye

A 1951 novel.  A classic.  One of those books some people read sometime during 7th grade.

I never had to read the book.  (or at least if I was SUPPOSED to read the book, well, I didn't).

About 10 years ago - if not 12, I got this wild hair and thought I needed to read this book.  I don't really remember where it came from.  I THINK it was a suggestion from someone whom I worked with.

****SPOILER ALERT*****  I'm not going to tell you how the book ends, but I will discuss this book - so, if you don't want to know, you need to stop reading now. :-)

This book is very circular - in other words, it says the same thing over and over and over and over.  If you have boys or you are a boy, you understand this book better.  I'm a simple girl.  When I started this book, my sons were young.  I don't have brothers (unless you counts the ones I've claimed along the way) - I didn't grow up with boys around the house.  I couldn't relate.

I started this book when my sons were young.  It was okay.  HOWEVER, I felt it was a duty.  An obligation to read this book.  Not a very compelling reason to read a book!

We need to travel back in time.  I started this book.  I was married, I had two young sons and I was going to read The Catcher in the Rye.

I got divorced, I moved, I moved back into my house.

I started the book again.

I dated a fun guy once for a bit and we used to read bits of the book to each other.  He "got" the book - he had to read it earlier, and plus, well, he was a boy.

I moved to another house.

I moved the book with me...... And it was on my nightstand for YEARS. YEARS - literally, we are talking about a total of AT LEAST TEN.

For whatever reason, I couldn't get rid of the book.  I also knew, I would never finish the book.

I would try.  I would start reading and read a page or so.  Of course, I couldn't remember where I was in the book.  Truly, years had gone by......

Last summer, while packing up for the house swap, the book was on my night stand.  Of course, it was, it had never left. 

I'm taking this book with me.  And if it's the last thing I do, well, I'm finishing this book.  This is the summer.

Two other books to read, all these things I want to do.  And yeah, I'm supposed to not only finish a book I couldn't, but really I should start over.  Start at the beginning.  Start at the beginning of the book.

So, I did.

I started over.  3 weeks in - yes, you can guess it.  I think I'm on page 20....  Heck, I was further along than this when I started over....

Why do we always view starting over as a bad thing?  Do we think we will have the same outcome???

At the start of the 3rd week, the boys are with me, I've met new friends and life on the island is very busy.  Our new friends come for dinner (9 people total) - we grill out, we play games, we roast marshmallows - a perfect evening.

We are gathered around the campfire and my youngest son says "my mom reads the strangest books.  She read the Twilight Series". (we were talking about books).   Katy (a 16 year old) replies:  "You read the Twilight Series??? I read that in like 7th grade"  "Of course, it wasn't around when I was in 7th grade to read," I replied.  And Al (one of the friends) replies, "You know what's a really good book?  You need to read The Catcher in the Rye".  Seriously?  I met this man approx 72 hours before this moment, and he's telling me I need to read a book that has been on my nightstand for 12 years?

There were tears in my eyes. I said, "what did you say".  "Catcher in the Rye, now that's a good book."  WHAT?   And no, he hadn't seen the book on my nightstand.  (it's okay, you know you were thinking that).

I guess it was time to finish the book. 

I did finish the book - it took me until September - of the same year, but I finished.  And it was worth it.  I understand it much better having teenage boys.

Yes, it's a bit circular, but I now understand why you need to read it.

Yes, it's still on my nightstand.  Every time I look at it, it makes me smile.  It's up to us to decide, is the whole thing real?  made up?  or a little bit of both???

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