I never really understood John Green's argument that you don't need to like the characters in a book to like the book itself. That was, until I read this book.
I mean, for the first few chapters of the book, I hated Holden. It seemed like he wasn't even trying. He was prejudiced and misogynist. I didn't want to listen to him whine about his problems for roughly 200 pages. But, as the novel went on, I began to empathise with Holden. I saw how lonely and lost he truly was. I saw how this boy - my polar opposite - was in fact the me I didn't like to think about. Deep down I was like Holden in many, many ways. I began to like the fact Holden wasn't typically "likeable", but still relatable. It made the book so much more interesting.
I began to notice the little quirks in the story. For instance, how his red hat was the same colour as Allie's hair, and how he used it to protect himself. When he asked about where the ducks would go, when the lake froze over, I realised he was actually asking where he would go, now everything seems to have frozen over, and where would he go when he was older. Throughout the novel, Holden searches for one thing in particular. Someone to listen to him. And, nobody does. Nobody can understand how he really feels. Nobody ever really understands how anybody else feels.
But for some reason, this novel so often described as "depressing", made me feel kind of, content in a way. That is when I finished it, I mean. I think it's because I felt hopeful for Holden. Here he was, writing down what had happened. And this time, he had finally found the words to get someone to fully empathise with him. I mean, knowing Holden things could go very wrong, but I got the impression that "new Holden" is strong.
When reading the reviews of this novel, I noticed some people deeming Holden as their idol and others, stating how much they disposed him. Holden is not my idol, but I can't help but admire him.