I mooched this copy of The Catcher in the Rye. This book was another re-read for me. I first read it in high school, but I can't remember what year. I detested the book in high school. After reading it again, about 20 years later, I really enjoyed it. I think, perhaps, I was in the same boat as Holden Caulfield the first time I read the book - no, not crazy...immature! Reading the novel with more life experience behind me, I just GET IT a lot better. I found it hilariously funny. Holden's immaturity and constant watch for "phonies" just cracked me up. Ultimately, though, the book is a sad one - Holden's immaturity leads to his loneliness, and his loneliness keeps him from being able to interact in appropriate ways with others. His sadness over the death of his brother and the poor family dynamic among the Caulfields just complicate the already difficult and distressing teenage years.
Reading it again after 20 years, I officially reverse my original opinion: I give the book five out of five Whatevers. Never have I flown through a novel so quickly. I finished it in two days. I almost couldn't put it down. It has earned its accolades. Recommended, but not for high schoolers. Put some distance between the age of the protagonist and the age of the reader. Most teenagers cannot believe that every little thing that goes wrong is not the end of the world - the teen years are filled with too much drama for most teenagers to appreciate this book, in my humble opinion. Put some life experience behind you, then pick it up...or else read it as a teenager and then re-read it years later and see if you appreciate it more!