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The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

by J. D. Salinger

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
70,124108414 (3.78)3 / 1125
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 (6)
Read (25)
AP Lit (47)
Cooper (71)
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Showing 1-5 of 1006 (next | show all)
Not my cup of tea at all. I forced myself to finish it. I can’t relate to the time period when this was written. The book had an innocence to it that was kind of appealing, but l just didn’t care for this book at all. ( )
  ShawnEllsworth | May 29, 2024 |
After recently re-reading Lord of the Flies and enjoying it much more than when I read it back in school, I thought I'd see if Catcher in the Rye improved upon re-reading. It didn't. I will never understand how this gets to the top of so many great novel lists. ( )
  Abcdarian | May 18, 2024 |
Rich Kid's Blues - It Really Is.

If you set yourself a target of reading books published in 1951 you can't really ignore The Catcher in the Rye. I was surprised to learn however, that it had been published in serial form in 1945-46. It was a re-read for me although I can't remember how long ago I originally read it and I was under the impression that it was perhaps the original "Rebel Without a Cause" novel, but it really isn't. What did impress me this time round was how convincingly Salinger succeeds in getting inside the head of a 17 year old boy who doesn't fit in with his parents or his peer group. The novel is told by Holden Caulfield himself, as he battles the depression of a freezing weekend after he has been expelled from his fancy preparatory school in Pennsylvania and puts off the inevitable homecoming. His well to-do family will not be pleased especially as this is not the first time Holden has been expelled from school.

Holden is prone to exaggeration and is not the most reliable of witnesses, but he tells his story very much in his own words, exposing himself to ridicule as the boy who just can't be bothered to toe the line. There are perhaps reasons for his behaviour: he was close to his younger brother who died of Leukaemia, a friend at school, who may have had similar issues of inadequacy, commits suicide by throwing himself off the building and the only teacher who cares about Holden enough to try and help him, may have darker reasons for doing so. Holden is a complex character, he suffers his teenage angst more than most, he has moments of clear sight, but all is wrapped up in such immature behaviour that his best friend is his ten year old sister. Salinger's supreme achievement is to reveal the different facets of Holden's character in language that an immature 17 year old boy might use. He makes Holden believable and even likeable. As Holden desperately searches for ways to fill up the empty spaces in his weekend and the empty spaces in his life, his thoughts and mood swings, career around in ever decreasing circles. The use of a stream of conscious like technique enhances the confusion, the fears, the desperate actions of a young man seemingly at war with his peers and figures in authority.

Perhaps there had never been a novel quite like The Catcher in the Rye when it finally appeared in 1951 and so I would rate it as 5 stars for its originality. Re-reading it now in 2024, it is still a striking piece of work, but there are other themes jostling around in the confused whirl of Holden Caulfield's story that bear further thought; for example: The American Dream is not for everybody, even those who are in the upper reaches of society like Holden, what happens to those individuals who cannot sign up for it, are they sick, mentally unstable, delusional perhaps, do they risk being ostracised, cast aside or even being locked up. There is no safety net for those who do not conform and we know that Holden will find this out soon enough. In my opinion this is still an impressive read, even though Holden's errant behaviour no longer seems rebellious. ( )
  baswood | May 17, 2024 |
I should have read this as a teenager: I would have loved it then, maybe. Forty-four year old me, can't cope with the self-absorbed whining of the evolving mind. I will re-read in ten years and see if something changes. ( )
  Elanna76 | May 2, 2024 |
A classic for adolescent readers, but re-reading it 50 yrs later didn't impress me as much. ( )
  sfj2 | Apr 28, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 1006 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (77 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Salinger, J. D.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Avati, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Östergren, KlasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Böll, HeinrichMitwirkendersecondary 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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Epigraph
Dedication
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."
Quotations
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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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.

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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.
(Christopher451)
A quoi bon la vie. Ses chemins nous mènent au trou. Attrape mon coeur!
Bottle up your grief.
Men do not have emotions.
Lie until you die.
(alsocass)
Holden's lost in youth,

Catcher in the rye unfolds,

Searching for his truth.

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