Review : Catcher, Caught by Sarah Collins Honenberger
In her third novel, Sarah Collins Honenberger pays homage to the classic Salinger novel, Catcher in the Rye. Catcher, Caught is her way of hoping to reconnect this generation with the story of Holden Caulfield and his coming of age journey. To accomplish this, she employs the narrative of Daniel Landon, a young man who has been diagnosed with leukemia and in his effort to deal with his illness uses Holden’s journey as a guide book of sorts.
The story, told in Daniel’s voice is fresh and incredibly engaging. The unique perspective given by his illness gives his voice a poignancy that touches the reader from the opening pages. The parallels between Daniel’s and Holden’s struggles are strong at times. They both experience a fundamental disconnect with their parents; Holden’s disdain for the upper crust phoniness of his parents and Daniel’s periodic impatience with his parents hippie lifestyle and the problems it causes him. (Chief among those problems is Daniel’s parent’s resistance to conventional Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.)
Daniel and Holden are each trying to understand the world with all its complexities and contradictory values and are each trying to reconcile their desires with their responsibilities. All of this in a world that tells them in one breath to act responsibly and in the next tells them they are still children.
While Catcher, Caught will stir memories for those who fondly recall reading Salinger’s classic in their youth, it is not necessary to have read it to fully enjoy Honenberger’s latest effort. As far as my personal experience goes. I read Catcher in the Rye for the first time when I was thirteen, and found myself identifying with Holden’s feelings of alienation and frustration in the way only a teenager could truly do. When I read it again later, as an adult, I found that I couldn’t connect with him in quite the same way. My perspective had, of course changed and it was a different experience. As I read Catcher, Caught, I was able to recall quite vividly that first experience through Daniel’s eyes. More importantly, I was able to know Daniel’s character in a way that might not have been possible without his insights into Holden.
Daniel Landon and the way he deals with his illness, his family and the people and things that are important to him touches you in a way that Holden Caulfield’s struggles may not have. Perhaps it is because of Daniel’s illness and his urgency to experience all life can offer into a finite period of time. Possibly it may be that Daniel seems more invested in the life and feelings of others than Holden appears to. Whatever the reason, you will find yourself cheering for Daniel and hoping with all your heart that he finds his way and wins his personal struggle- not only with his illness, but with his need to understand and embrace everything life has to offer.
Review By Brenda Seward
Simple Pleasures Books & Gifts
Catcher, Caught will be released in December through Amazon Encore books