Honestly, I have no idea what so ever why people still read this book. I really think I hated it. Maybe some people like it because a truly miserable character like that makes them feel better about themselves and their lives. I do not know. I do think that something important can be learned from the novel, but I think the message is mostly wasted on people who either do not need it or can not change.
Holden is really a miserable person. Something is always making him depressed and sad, no matter what he does. At the beginning he said he hated it when people repeat things, but he repeats things all of the time (Salinger 10). When people do not like something in themselves, they tend to dislike other people that do it too. For instance, I have really deep smile lines. Whenever I smile when I scuba dive, my mask floods because they are so deep. For a long time they really used to bother me, and it really annoyed me when other people had deep smile lines too. The repetitions that Holden hates are really his own, and that is just one more thing that he does not like about himself. When you read about a person that messed up, you almost have to be thankful that your head is at least a little bit more squarely on your shoulders.
What a person can learn from this book is just that they just should not be so hard on themselves. Holden is really terrible to his self, and it makes people realize just how pointless it is, or at least I hope they realize that. I think the message is mostly wasted because people who are not hard on themselves do not need it, and people who are hard on themselves are not going to change their mind because of a book. When people dislike themselves like that, it probably takes something pretty deep for them to realize that they are not bad at all.
Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. Boston: Little, Brown and, 1991. Print.