This is very effective for what it is. Holden is an extremely believable teenager. I think I probably knew a few people like him. It's also pretty impressive that he wrote this way back then. It's sort of hard to imagine how he could have grasped the coming ennui that was going to encompass younger generations ahead of time. To use a later movie as a comparison, it sort of feels like Rebel without a Cause the novel, only without a conventional climax. But I think this book's reputation has benefited from Salinger's exile. Like rock stars who kill themselves before they have time to suck, by not publishing much else, Salinger got everyone obsessed with his potential. And so they retroactively go, well this book was pretty good so therefore Salinger might have been one of the great American writers had he only published his other work, therefore this book is great. That's nonsense. But it's probably the best book I've read written from the perspective of a teenager.