Anne Trubek, in GOOD Magazine, on Why We Shouldn’t Still Be Learning Catcher in the Rye.
Why is The Catcher in the Rye still a rite of high school English? Sure, J.D. Salinger’s novel was edgy and controversial when teachers first put it on their syllabi. But that was 50 years ago. Today, Salinger’s novel lacks the currency or shock value it once had, and has lost some of its critical cachet. But it is still ubiquitously taught even though many newer novels of adolescence are available.
Now I’m a big fan of classics, but I think she has a point. There are many, many, many wonderful books that could be used in schools in place of this particular teen-angst book. Don’t get me wrong; I was a huge Salinger fan in my teen years. But that was decades ago. There are so many truly terrific books that would probably resonate with larger numbers of kids than Holden’s story now does. Trubek, at the end of her piece, recommends several worthy candidates and I can think of quite a few more.