Maybe you are like me in that you have heard of this novel, but you've never read it. It's fame has also piqued your interest. Well, that is how I decided I was going to read this book. And that is also how I found out that this book is not worth reading. :)
Here's the gist: the novel chronicles a weekend in the life of prep school attendee Holden Caulfield. He has been kicked out of another school, but he doesn't want to go home to his soon-to-be disappointed parents. Instead he spends the weekend in New York City. There isn't a real strong plot to the story. It is told in the first person point of view, and the entire book is basically just Holden giving you his thoughts on life. He has been committed to a mental institution because he has had a nervous breakdown, and it seems that he has been instructed to write down the events that led to his breakdown.
This novel is filled with very frank observations regarding people, and Salinger uses a lot of coarse language. A lot. I understand that he was trying to convey a strong character, and when you read the book it does come across that Holden would speak that way. But it was beyond excessive. Also, because Holden is only sixteen, and the novel is written in a manner that Holden himself is telling the story, there is a lot of repetition of words and phrases.
I will give Salinger credit in that he certainly makes the reader believe that a 16 year-old is telling a story rather than a 25 year-old writer. But the bad language makes this book one to be avoided.