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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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58,82293413 (3.81)3 / 1027
Story of Holden Caufield with his idiosyncrasies, penetrating insight, confusion, sensitivity and negativism. Holden, knowing he is to be expelled from school, decides to leave early. He spends three days in New York City and tells the story of what he did and suffered there.
1950s (13)
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Showing 1-5 of 874 (next | show all)
We sometimes like to joke that there are two sorts of people where I work: the children's book people, and the teen book people. I am notorious for being one of the former, and although I work in the field, I very rarely feel drawn to pick up contemporary young adult/teen titles. Apparently, I'm not particularly drawn to classic teen fiction either (with the notable exception of The Outsiders), because I had never happened to read The Catcher in the Rye, nor had I ever felt any impulse to do so. Then one day it was assigned to me in one of my courses for my masters degree in children's literature, in the unit on teen fiction, and I dutifully picked it up. I enjoyed it. Or perhaps I found it interesting in some way. One or the other.

I know that this must be so, because I awarded it three stars at that time, and if books annoy me in any significant way I tend to give them two stars. Books that offend me, whether aesthetically or morally, get a single star. Unfortunately, I didn't record my reaction to the book at the time - I wasn't reviewing very many books, while doing my masters - and I can't seem to find the notes I took. Being currently engaged in a lockdown project in which I rate and review all the books I read during that period, I went looking for those notes, to no avail. Without them, all I could dredge up from memory was the idea of a disaffected teen boy, some kind of prep school, New York City, and a little sister. No details. No recollections of how I felt reading it. No memories of our class discussion. I must have had something to say - one would be hard pressed to find a subject about which I didn't have something to say - but whatever it was, it is lost to me. I know that The Catcher in the Rye divides readers' opinions, with some loving it and others despising it, but my lack of memory suggests an indifference that speaks for itself. There's absolutely nothing at all wrong with EMO "finding yourself" narratives, the theme of rebellion against authority, or forbidden true love plots - they are all perfectly appropriate, from a developmental perspective, to the teenage years. I guess I'm just at the stage of life where I find it all rather boring. Or, maybe the book just isn't that interesting. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | May 21, 2020 |
I started this book without any knowledge of what the book was about. Within a few pages, I was hooked. Despite being written 70 years ago, it perfectly depicts the workings of a teenage mind. As someone who works with teenagers, I was blown away by the social isolation, awkwardness, narcissism and recklessness of Holden Caulfield. ( )
  martensgirl | May 13, 2020 |
I really don't understand what is the appeal of this book or why everyone has to read it in school. For one, the main character is a major douche and the entire book had me cringing at his douchyness (but maybe that IS the appeal, and its just douches who like the douchyness of him). Also I can't stand the word "phony", it grates on my ears in an actually painful manner, even when I read it, so reading it 100 or however many times in this short (the only redeeming quality) book was unbearable. Nope, I really don't get what I was supposed to learn and/or enjoy from this book. ( )
  locriian | May 4, 2020 |
There can be no denying that the writing is wonderful. The first person narrative form is, itself, a difficult form to use and Salinger does it well. The complication of writing as if the author were a teenage boy makes the task, and the accomplishment, all the more impressive. It s hard to imagine that anyone could do a better job of creating all the thinking, judgments, self-aggrandizement, fantasies and other thoughts of a teenage boy any better than Salinger did in this novel.
Still, I did not like the book. My goal for the year was to re-read at least 5 books and to read some classics I have not yet read. This book fit into the "classics" category, so I struggled through it even though I did not enjoy the experience. The main character is totally unlikeable and self centered (just as a real teenage boy would be), almost no plot or memorable action propels the story forward, and, in the end, the only thing to really say about the book is that it excellently portrays the thinking and activities of a teenage boy.
So now, "been there, done that, hated it."
( )
  Paul-the-well-read | Apr 18, 2020 |
This is going to be a short review because, frankly, I don't quite know what to say. Someone may call me out for saying this, but I can't help but wonder why this book is so touted. I admit that Holden Caulfield is a unique and entertaining character. I couldn't help but smile and chuckle every time he said "crumby" or "phoney" or "goddam" for the hundredth time. But as I read, I started to notice that Holden seems very dissatisfied with everything and everyone around him. Like his sister says, "You don't like anything that happens." I started to form an impression that Holden is bipolar. He certainly has some kind of mental disturbance going on with himself which I think stems from the loss of his younger brother to cancer. Back then, there really wasn't so much openness toward mental illness. And people didn't yet understand the effects of a death in the family on a young child and that said child might need counseling to help him/her deal with the loss. Holden needed that kind of help and when he didn't get it, he blasted the world, so to speak. But I think his 'dislike' of everything is really him reflecting his despair on the world. There is also a part toward the end where sexual abuse is alluded to and that could also be at play in Holden's character and his behavior.

In all, I would have to say that the book is a great character study, but I was expecting it to be much better. ( )
  TheTrueBookAddict | Mar 22, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 874 (next | show all)
“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 (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Salinger, J. D.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Avati, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome 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
Schönfeld, EikeÜbersetzersecondary 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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Book description
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 it to keep.

J.D. Salinger's classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950's and 60's it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read.
Haiku summary
Boy in funny hat
Wanders around N.Y.C.
Phonies everywhere.
A quoi bon la vie. Ses chemins nous mènent au trou. Attrape mon coeur!

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014023750X, 0241950430

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