By Francisco Amaro

I spent the last summer of middle school at my dad’s house, away from friends and a portion of my family. I waited for my older brother to come home from football practice so we could go uptown to visit a local bookstore and a record shop. I read a handful of classic novels to pass the time because the hours between morning and noon can be exceptionally lonely for an introverted teenage in a new town. One of the novels that stood out to me was The Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger. The 277-page novel is narrated by depressed, angst-filled, teenager- Holden Caulfield.

Holden writes a detailed letter recollecting some of the experiences that ended up landing him in a psych ward, to an unknown recipient. What makes The Catcher in The Rye, such a timeless piece of literature is not only how relatable the protagonist can appear to the young audience, but how flawed the main character is; at times he can come off as pessimistic, and judgmental, but there is also a certain sense of vulnerability that every young reader can relate to. As I read about Holden’s encounter to the real world, I sat in my brother’s room and felt for a moment a little less lonely during the hours from the morning till the afternoon.

By the end of the summer, I was on a three-hour car ride home just in time for a friend’s birthday party. I sat in the backseat and dwelled on Holden’s obsessiveness with authenticity, which derived from a piece of him trying to grasp onto the innocence of youth. I thought of how selfish and hypocritical Holden’s character was, then I realized that I spent the past three months isolating myself from others in my brother’s room as a transplant. When I finally arrived at the party, I quickly realized what was going to be their last summer party was going to be my first.