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The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

by J. D. Salinger, J. D. Salinger

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
50,65981710 (3.83)3 / 885
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(see all 35 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 762 (next | show all)
I Think I would never find another writer who can speak to my heart as much as my dear Salinger! God bless his beautiful soul,... ( )
1 vote GazelleS | May 11, 2016 |
Review Originally Posted At: FictionForesight

Here, There Be Phonies – 4 Stars!

The Catcher In The Rye is a brilliantly executed take on teenage life written over 60 years ago, that still holds true today.

A Quick Summary:

Essentially, The Catcher In The Rye is a book about a few days in the life of a teenager named Holden Caulfield. The entire story is narrated by Caulfield as he reflects back on a recent time in his life; taking place just after he is expelled from yet another prep school. It details his misadventures and observations of life from his outcast, and emotionally charged, perspective.

The Good:

First of all I just wanted to say this book is a classic written over 60 years ago with over 1.5 million ratings and nearly 35,000 reviews; and that’s just on Goodreads. In other words, I more than likely won’t say anything that someone hasn’t already said hundreds, if not thousands, of times. In light of this, I’m going to keep my review relatively short and to the point.

First, to point out the elephant in the room, I love how relatable this book is, even 60 years later. Teenage angst, in all it’s many forms, is pretty much timeless. The Catcher In The Rye does a fantastic job at showing just how emotional and overwhelming that time of life can be. It’s not prettied up to make it look like everything will be all right; it’s raw and realistic. The issues are presented just as they feel to Holden, just as they feel to many teenagers. And even if you’re not a teenager, and not able to relate to the book in the moment, you can reflect back and understand where he is coming from. For those who say “I never felt like that”, I get that, but I’m sure you knew someone who did. It’s not exclusive to how all people everywhere felt when they were Holden’s age, but it is a good representation.

I keep bringing this up, but this book was written over 60 years ago. To me, that’s amazing. This is one of those books that, aside from a few words and phrases, doesn’t feel like it was written more than 10 years ago. The Catcher In The Rye read like just about everything else nowadays, and I loved that. One of the reasons I don’t read as many classics as I should is that I hate Shakespearean lingo, and stuff like it. For me, it takes away from the story. If I have to spend time trying to understand what’s being said, as opposed to absorbing what’s happening, it wouldn’t be a book I’d tend to lean towards. In my opinion, this is one of the reasons that story is as timeless as it is. Anybody could pick it up and understand what’s going on.

I thoroughly enjoyed the refreshingly raw look into a characters mind. Holden was troubled; he had his emotional demons. The fact that you’re able to read his train of thought, to have such a vivid look at his mindset, that’s what made it so special to me. One scene he’s going along happy and go-lucky, and the next he’s broken to the emotional core. That’s life. When things get Holden down, J.D. Salinger shows us the effect, he doesn’t just gloss over it. The emotional internal and spiritual struggles are real. The vulnerability is real.

Finally, for all that this book is, I found it to be quite funny. Sure it was dry humor, but it still made me laugh out loud on a number of occasions. That’s what keeps it from being too emotional, too heavy.

The Bad:

This is tough, because I really didn’t see anything particularly wrong with this book. In fact the only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is because it didn’t feel 5 star worthy to me. It’s not one of those things where I could tell you what went wrong.

I know some people have a problem with it because they find the character too negative, and too unrealistic. That’s not an issue for me. I understand Holden as a character, even if I never really felt the way he did.

I know people also disliked the fact that this book really didn’t have a beginning or ending; but that’s the point isn’t it? It’s a book that centers on the life of a teenager, for only a brief period of time. It really couldn’t have a true beginning or ending. It’s all about the there and now. Sure it points to the future, but only in regards to the feelings it brings up at that moment.


While I was reading this book, all I kept thinking about was that it’s a book about nothing. I mean yes at its core it’s about all the things I’ve mentioned above and many others, but generally speaking it’s about nothing in particular. And yet it’s so incredibly successful. Now why is that familiar? Oh yes, there was a little show about nothing; Seinfeld ring any bells? That was just a little successful too. In fact, if you look at it, you could say that Seinfeld is an adult version of this book, without as much emotional investment and more comedic value.

I find quite humorous how ironic this book is. The thought of Holden being “the catcher in the rye”, wanting to save children’s innocence, save them from adulthood, all the while he’s the one with Peter Pan syndrome. He’s the one who wants to be a child.


What can you say, The Catcher in the Rye is a classic any way you swing it. Love it or hate it, it’s been around for over 60 years and I don’t see that changing any time soon. It’s won an insane amount of awards, been on almost every top 100 must-read list and is relatable through the generations. At this point, if you haven’t already read it, just do it. You’ll either love it, or you won’t. I loved it, and can’t recommend it enough. Would I say it changed my life? No, but I understand how it could. They don’t call em classics for nothing.

(www.FictionForesight.com) ( )
  FictionForesight | Apr 26, 2016 |
Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye is one of the most controversial books since its publication in 1951. According to the American Library Association, it is the tenth most challenged book between 1990 and 1999, in 2005 and again in 2009. The book has been banned by school district in the early 1960s, in the late 1970s and again in the early 1980s. Salinger's teenage main character uses vulgar language, engages distasteful sexual activities, drinks alcohol, ignores moral codes, and violates family values. Despite the controversy, the novel remains widely read in the global marketplace. The main character, Holden Caulfied, seeks his identity by exploring the activities of the adult world but he is disillusioned and cannot fit in. At times, Caulfield could be compared to Peter Pan as he longs for his childhood: his young sister, Phoebe and the carousel in Central Park. Salinger's language moves the reader through the various emotions that Caulfield experiences. Certainly, nearly every reader teen and beyond can identify with the search for self and the transition from childhood to adulthood. Salinger's novel can be compared to other texts such as Chbosky's Perks of Being a Wallflower, Guest's Ordinary People, and Plath's The Bell Jar. In this unit of study, I use the debate resolve: Holden Caulfield resonates with modern day teenagers and is therefore relevant literature.
The audio version of the text is on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yqh3a8uxOk
Reaching Holden Caulfield's Children http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/reaching-holden-caulfields-gra...
  sgemmell | Apr 21, 2016 |
I found Holden's rich white boy pain tedious and insufferable in high school, and a 2016 reread did not change my mind.
1 vote sparemethecensor | Apr 20, 2016 |
nemam pojma,nije mi se uopste ovo svidjelo,jedva sam procitala,jedino mi se svidjeo stil pisanja... ( )
  ceca78 | Apr 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 762 (next | show all)
In the course of 277 pages, the reader wearies of [his] explicitness, repetition and adolesence, exactly as one would weary of Holden himself. And this reader at least suffered from an irritated feeling that Holden was not quite so sensitive and perceptive as he, and his creator, thought he was. In any case he is so completely self-centered that the other characters who wander through the book—with the notable exception of his sister Phoebe—have nothing like his authenticity. ... In a writer of Salinger's undeniable talent, one expects something more.
added by danielx | editNew Republic, Hillary Kelly (Jan 23, 2015)
“Holden Caulfield is supposed to be this paradigmatic teenager we can all relate to, but we don’t really speak this way or talk about these things,” Ms. Levenson said, summarizing a typical response. At the public charter school where she used to teach, she said, “I had a lot of students comment, ‘I can’t really feel bad for this rich kid with a weekend free in New York City.’ ”
"Some of my best friends are children," says Jerome David Salinger, 32. "In fact, all of my best friends are children." And Salinger has written short stories about his best friends with love, brilliance and 20-20 vision. In his tough-tender first novel, The Catcher in the Rye (a Book-of-the-Month Club midsummer choice), he charts the miseries and ecstasies of an adolescent rebel, and deals out some of the most acidly humorous deadpan satire since the late great Ring Lardner.
added by Shortride | editTime (Jul 16, 1951)
Holden's story is told in Holden's own strange, wonderful language by J. D. Salinger in an unusually brilliant novel.
This Salinger, he's a short story guy. And he knows how to write about kids. This book though, it's too long. Gets kind of monotonous. And he should've cut out a lot about these jerks and all at that crumby school. They depress me.

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Salinger, J. D.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Salinger, J. D.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Östergren, KlasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fonalleras, Josep MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Judit, GyepesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, MichaelCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riera, ErnestTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saarikoski, PenttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schroderus, ArtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zhongxu, SunTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my mother
First words
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want the truth."
I'm quite illiterate but I read a lot.
You don’t have to think too hard when you talk to teachers.
I do not even like ... cars... I’d rather have a goddamn horse. A horse is at least human, for God’s sake.”
I always pick a gorgeous time to fall over a suitcase or something.
The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody'd move....Nobody'd be different. The only thing that would be different would be you.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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AR Level 4.7, 11 pts.
Haiku summary
Boy in funny hat
Wanders around N.Y.C.
Phonies everywhere.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316769177, Paperback)

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."

His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:03 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Story of Holden Caulfield with his idiosyncrasies, penetrating insight, confusion, sensitivity and negativism. The hero-narrator of "The Catcher in the Rye" is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty, but almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices--but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle to keep it.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014023750X, 0241950430, 0241950465

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