Thursday, December 14, 2017

Book Report: The Catcher in the Rye
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is about a boy on the Naughty List who leaves his boarding school a few days before his Christmas break is supposed to start, not because he can't wait to see what goodies my dad will leave under his tree -- because, duh, he's on the Naughty List, remember? -- but because he's flunking out, hence his placement on the aforementioned Naughty List.

Instead of going home, Holden (that's the boy's name) wanders around New York City for a few days, I guess because he's so Naughty and all. And here's what I don't like about the book: It's Christmastime in New York, but you'd hardly even know it. I mean, at one point he goes to Central Park to give his sister Phoebe an early Christmas present, which was Nice of him and all, but he even says in the narration, "It didn't seem at all like Christmas was coming soon."
And I'm like, duh. You have to tell us about all the beautiful Christmas decorations Holden sees all the time and not just a little bit at the end, Mr. Salinger. That's the author, Jerry Salinger. He's dead. Daddy says Mr. Salinger was never on the Naughty List himself, but we still have all his Christmas presents here at the North Pole because Daddy could never find out where this guy lived. Anyway, I suppose if the he had allowed Hollywood to make a movie out of his book, we'd see the Christmas decorations everywhere and we'd all be calling it a Christmas movie like Die Hard or Gremlins or While You Were Sleeping and everyone would watch it every year at Christmastime. And then Holden would call us all a bunch of phonies, I bet.

So this Holden character takes this girl Sally Hayes ice skating outside Radio City Music Hall and she invites him to her house to trim her tree -- I think I know what she really means by that but I'm not allowed to say -- but there's not one mention of the ginormous Christmas tree they always have right there where they're skating. And I'm like, hello? This book makes me so mad sometimes!
The actual Rink at Rockefeller Plaza, where Holden Caulfield goes ice skating with Sally Hayes, in 1949, the year Catcher in the Rye takes place. See? There was a giant Christmas tree right there. Salinger didn't reference it once.
Later the boy goes inside to see the wonderful Christmas Spectacular show without Sally, who ditched him, because, Naughty List, right? And he gives the show a worse review than Scrooge would have! I'm starting to understand why my father wanted this book banned from North Pole High.
I say, if you want to write a book that takes place during the most wonderful time of the year, then it should be filled with wonder and magic and Christmas trees. I'm not saying I'm a better writer than this J.D. Salinger guy was or anything, but my book, North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus, has never been accused of holding back on the Christmas joy. So if you're looking for a Christmas book that isn't afraid to mention Christmas (200 times), reindeer (26 times), and presents (45 times), and is available in both print and (unlike The Catcher in the Rye) Kindle editions, then you know where to look!

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