Dear Mr. Salinger,
As I’m sitting in my dreary basement typing this to you, I don’t think any book could have changed me as a person more than The Catcher in the Rye. The book you’re written has had a very big impact on the way I see things.
I only started reading your book because I desperately needed one to go a book report, and through my father’s recommendation, picked it up off one of the numerous book shelves in my house. I was interested to see what I would find when opening the first pages of the battered book, though not that interested. That changed very quickly. When I started reading that night, by the very first page I was able to recognize the cynical attitude that Holden had. I could remember thinking, “What’s this guys problem?” As I read on, I realized he was more and more like me. Or I was becoming more and more like him, I’m not really sure. When I go shopping for groceries or clothes I tend to think “Who cares, this is just stuff we don’t need,” which sort of reminds me of how Holden viewed trivial things. I can’t exactly say I treat people the way he did all the time, but I noticed Holden views people on first impressions, which is something I do quite a bit. When he didn’t like someone, he usually found things to like about them, and when he liked someone, he usually found things to dislike about them, which when I thought about, is a lot like how my brain works. No one is perfect, but no one is absolutely evil, which is how I think of things. Another one I remember is this time I went outside for a walk late at night, just to think about things, and I couldn’t help be reminding myself of Holden.
As I started relating to him, I couldn’t put the book down to save the world. I kept reading to find out what sort of little adventure he’d get into next. It seemed that Holden started becoming increasingly more insane, and at the same time I was too, right there with him. I was with him everywhere he went, and even if I didn’t understand him sometimes, I’d keep blindly following him like a sheep follows a Sheppard.
Finally the day came when I read every page in the book, and I almost didn’t know it was over. I was expecting more, and hoping something would happen to prolong the book. That’s how much I didn’t want the book to end, and wished some omnipotent being could insert more pages, satisfying my thirst for more. I knew this wouldn’t happen, so I took what I had. Looking back on the book later, I can tell you this book changed me more than anything. I still had to do that book report of course, but I didn’t think the book deserved something as little as that. It deserved much more. Holden is the cynical teenager that most of us are or were. I like coming up with my own ideas about the purpose of books I’ve read, and I think The Catch in the Rye was written by you to embody the confusion and frustration we experience, along with the apathy and angst that young people go through, while at the same time being hilarious all the way through. Most important of all I can step into Holden’s shoes, and understand him, in all his glory.