Favorite Book As a Personality Test: The Catcher in the Rye, The Lord of the Flies and The Outsiders

A person’s favorite book says a lot about who they are. For one, it may be an example of the last time he or she read something. Avid readers tend to place a lot of value on other people’s books of choice, but what do certain books say about the people who love them?

J.D. Salinger’s famous novel The Catcher in the Rye is a story about a young man named Holden Caulfield, a privileged but complicated teenager who stopped developing emotionally after he lost his beloved brother Allie to leukemia. Holden’s situation is pitiable, for sure, but the way he handles his grief is pretty terrible. He decides not to form any real attachments to any other people in his life, knowing just how much it hurts to lose someone he truly loves, so to avoid getting too close to anyone else, he treats his classmates, teachers, parents, and women in his life with disdain. He craves human contact, once going so far as to solicit the company of prostitute, but when he gets to her boudoir, only wants to talk.

If a man’s favorite book is The Catcher in the Rye it’s probably not a great sign. More than likely, he identifies with Holden Caulfield and sees him not as a selfish, immature (if unfortunate) young man, but instead as some kind of rebel. He probably views Holden as someone who can identify the “phonies” of society and who refuses to conform to social norms. If a woman finds out that her boyfriend’s favorite book is The Catcher in the Rye, she should proceed with caution. And give him some Vonnegut to read.

If a member of either gender’s favorite Favoritboken book is The Lord of Flies, that person probably hasn’t done much reading since he or she was in high school. The Lord of the Flies is a perennial 10th grade favorite. English teachers can’t seem to get enough of the symbolism of the conch shell, and they love to make their students write about the social hierarchy that exists amongst the young boys stranded on that island, particularly focusing on whether Jack or Ralph should be chosen as the “king” of the group. It’s also possible that the person is just a sucker for the “stuck on an island” plot. If he or she is a big fan of LOST and/or Swiss Family Robinson, the latter is probably the case.

Finally, if a woman’s favorite book is The Outsiders, it’s probably for one two reasons. One: she finds the book poetically beautiful. She probably wells up at the words “Stay gold, Ponyboy” and declares Robert Frost to be her favorite poet, even if she can’t name any of his works besides Nothing Gold Can Stay. The other is that she saw the film version, which is chock full of 1980s era hunks and associates her positive associations with those gentlemen with the book itself. Or it could be both.

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