I had an urge the other Sunday to read this book. I don't know why as I had barely heard of it, but I did. I called up my local book shop to check it was in stock and, upon finding out that it was, ran down there like a school boy to get it. I almost finished it that same day. Like the reviewer below, I too am recently out of my teens. However, unlike him, I related to Holden perhaps more than I have related to any living human being I have ever met (says a lot about me doesn't it?!). The critical reviewer is correct: Holden does moan. Yet, the novel is anything but negative, if anything it is filled with hope and an adoration of life. Holden's moaning is his disillusionment with the limitations placed on his life and the people who fail to recognise that they exist. His moaning has its foundations in his unwavering, and thus admirable, belief that this world, his world, had so much more potential even if he didn't know or couldn't fully articulate what it was. His journey is about discovering that potential, or at least trying to. Of course, he isn't always right and he doesn't always have direct justification. But that's what makes him such a pure and attractive seventeen year old; his justification comes from the mere fact that he has a mind and spirit to know that there is more out there - and that the rest of the 'justified' world is only really justified by others' blind acceptance.
The novel develops the most complex of themes and character in a cleanly written, at times simplistic, way. And that is an art I never previously had the chance to admire. There was a point in reading when I had to put down the novel and type up an entire extract to send to a friend - it hit such a raw nerve and it was so so true and well expressed.
The novel is remarkable and something we can all enjoy. Except, perhaps, those who have already been too blinded by society to open their eyes to a richer world.