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Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent."
Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep
school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my
lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield
kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores
me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about
His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually
exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.