Mr. Salinger's rendering of teen-age speech is wonderful: the unconscious humor, the repetitions, the slang and profanity, the emphasis, all are just right. Holden's mercurial changes of mood, his stubborn refusal to admit his own sensitiveness and emotions, his cheerful disregard of what is sometimes known as reality are typically and heart breakingly adolescent.
In New York Holden's nightmarish efforts to escape from himself by liquor, sex, night clubs, movies, sociability—anything and everything--are fruitless. Misadventure piles on misadventure, but he bears it all with a grim cheerfulness and stubborn courage. He is finally saved as a result of his meeting with his little sister Phoebe, like Holden a wonderful creation. She is the single person who supplies and just in time—the affection that Holden needs.
Certainly you'll look a long time before you'll meet another youngster like Holden Caulfield, as likable and, in spite of his failings, as sound. And though he's still not out of the woods entirely, there at the end, still we think he's going to turn out all right.
Nash K. Burger - New York Times
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