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The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

by J. D. Salinger

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 655 (next | show all)
I was a voracious reader in my teen years, and yet (not that I was trying) I somehow managed to avoid reading this book. While it was required reading for some of my classmates, it was never required in any of my own classes. Even when I took Advanced Placement English in senior year, it was not included in the curriculum.

And though I do recall my older brother had a dog-eared copy on his bookshelves, for whatever reason, it was not one of his many books I read.

Flash forward a year or two after high school, to the murder of John Lennon, whose assassin ostensibly killed the former Beatle because he was a "phony" and wanted to awaken the world to Salinger's book, and even claimed to have modeled his own life after Salinger's protagonist, Holden Caulfield.

I suppose like a lot of people, I found this a mere curiosity at the time. But I also remember thinking even then, it was probably a book I should already have read. And again, I put it out of my mind.

(Looking back on it, I wonder if perhaps I did this as a subconscious "fuck you" to the crazy Mr. Chapman. I was a fan of John Lennon. But that's for another time . . . )

Flash forward twenty years or so, and I find myself perusing the outdoor shelves at a used bookstore. I'm holding a paperback copy of the book — an older, but obviously well-cared for English printing — and figure it's high time I learn what all the fuss is about.

So, I read the book, and am confronted with perhaps the most selfish, self-centered, egocentric, the whole world revolves around me, humorless . . . twerp . . . I have ever encountered in literature. I found nothing to like about Holden Caulfield. Nothing at all. And when I put it down, I remember thinking, well, that explains Mark David Chapman anyway . . .

A few days later, I have a conversation with my friend Danny (my personal Lazlo), who I know has always had a soft spot in his heart for both Holden Caulfield and The Catcher in the Rye. I tell him I've recently finished the book and share my unvarnished thoughts, fully expecting to engage in a row about the merit or lack thereof of the book. To my surprise . . . he just laughed.

"What did you expect?" he asked.

Surprised by his response, I asked what he meant.

"You can't read it now," he answered sagely. "You have to have read it . . . then. You can't expect to understand it now. Nothing personal, but . . . the book wasn't written for you."

That was the end of our conversation.

And he was right. ( )
  BrendanPMyers | Jun 23, 2014 |
Catcher in The Rye- Holden juggles his emotions between the sarcastic child and a cynical teen. He is funny,but his youth and sarcasm work as blinders. He is oblivious of the goodness around him. His focus is through the wider end of the tunnel, but his mind's eye only sees out the narrow end. He is the typical pubescent who thinks he knows everything but in reality, he knows nothing as far as the scope of the world goes.
He wears his humor as a mask that he may hide himself from a world he feels he doesn't belong.
Holden does find happiness with his sister. He wishes he could forever freeze her in time. He wishes he could freeze in time with her. Why grow up and leave the rare moments of true happiness.
He is a boy on the verge of becoming a man. Emotionally he isn't ready. Will he ever be happy again.
Renee Robinson ( )
  ReneeRobinson | Jun 19, 2014 |
Took a while for me to get into Catcher in the Rye and to understand what it was about. But by the end i can see that Holden is just a typical lost teenager and the thoughts he has about the world and growing up haven't really changed all that much since then. ( )
  emmak79 | May 13, 2014 |
This is, without a doubt, the most pointless book ever. It doesn't even have enough of a point for me to dislike it. It real just is pointless. A huge waste of time. The main character is flat, and irritating. There is really no plot. Which makes for a bad book. I do not know how this book remained popular because it doesn't deserve it. Maybe the world should reevaluate what makes a classic book. Because this should never fall under that. ( )
  AngelaRenea | May 12, 2014 |
Blew my mind. Same as it did when I was a teenager - only now I'm worried that I've become one of those phonies coming in the goddam window.

[b:The Catcher in the Rye|5107|The Catcher in the Rye|J.D. Salinger|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1349928703s/5107.jpg|3036731]
[a:J.D. Salinger|819789|J.D. Salinger|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1288777679p2/819789.jpg] ( )
  MoranaBlue | May 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 655 (next | show all)
"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 (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Salinger, J. D.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Östergren, KlasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fernández Rodríguez, Xosé RamónTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saarikoski, PenttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schroderus, ArtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary 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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:26 -0400)

(see all 7 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

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014023750X, 0241950430

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