This is a guest post about the worst book you’ve ever read from Romeo Rosales, Jr., Assistant Branch Manager for the Pan American Branch Library in San Antonio, TX. He’s an author, librarian, historian, husband and father. Follow him on Twitter @Rrsls10.
I am sure we have all read more books than we can remember, but there are those rare gems that you simply cannot forget. Those books hold a special place in your life and chances are, if you are like me, you have a bookshelf in your home dedicated just for those books you deem your personal classics. I’m a librarian, so I’m obsessed with books and admiring them as they sit on my bookshelf.
I can think of countless books that were just amazing reads. I think of the March trilogy by John Lewis, The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and so many others. But there is that one book that I loathe with a fiery passion. A book that many literary critics and book reviewers say is a timeless classic, while I say it is complete garbage and hands down the worst book I have ever read. I know everybody has read a few books that they disliked or just completely hated. Well, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is that book for me. Let’s just say my dislike for this book is as deep as Biff Tannen’s hate for Marty McFly.
I get it: it’s a classic to many, and the simplistic plot of adolescent isolation is one that many teenagers and young adults can relate to. But for me, Holden Caulfield, the story’s protagonist, just comes off as a whiny and privileged teen who assumes his life problems are relevant in such a big world when in reality, he is just a speck in the world’s bandwidth.
The appeal for many is there and I can see how many relate to the story. I also understand the book was published during the Post-World War II era, so Salinger’s ideology (and the ideology of millions who read the story) was different from mine today. However, given the drastic societal changes that have occurred recently, Holden comes off as an even more annoying protagonist than he did when I read the book 15 years ago. I have read it multiple times in hopes that one day I can enjoy it and say “I get it,” but that day has yet to come.
For now I will continue hating this book and everything about it. Many Goodreads users share my sentiment. I am sure many of you readers genuinely enjoy this book and I respect that. For me, however, it goes down as the worst I have ever read.
What’s the worst book you have ever read?