Catcher in the Rye, The

J. D. Salinger
Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger's New Yorker stories--particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme With Love and Squalor--will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is full of children. 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.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2018-10-06
2
Reviewed: 2018-07-20
Read for 10th grade English class. Found Holden to be whiny, unrelatable. Maybe would have liked it better if I hadn't had to read it for school.
Reviewed: 2017-02-08
3.79
Reviewed: 2017-01-26
My highschool required reading was minimal compared to the classics that seem to be universally read throughout other schools. I’ve never picked up nineteen eighty-four, never glanced at Catch-22, or even considered The Catcher in the Rye. I’d picked up some things about the book before going into, such as Holden being a bit of a whiny character who dislikes phonies. My expectations were founded but I didn’t find Holden to be as annoying as so many people seem to think he is.

Holden is a unique character, who is desperately and destructively trying to linger in the innocence of his youth. Whilst he is interested in learning at school, he can’t bring himself to invest his mind because that would be pushing himself further into the adult world that is full of people that are not true to themselves like children are. He finds these people that are grown up and enshrined in dull rituals of etiquette repulsive because they are the catalyst of lost innocence.

The plot is largely non-existent as it focuses on Holden experiencing New York at this transitory time in his life. He isn’t quite a child or an adult, so his place in this city is undefined and shaky. There is a strong contrast between scenes where he is violently unfit for the adult scenery (such as the scene where he has a conflict with a prostitute) and scenes where he is acknowledged as belonging. He may be a compulsive liar but he is not a bad person. I see this clear as day when he was talking with the nuns who are a model of virtue and charity. He can’t help but proffer himself to them and provide charity and company because this is a form of company that is more aligned with his being.

This book is interesting because of how Holden is this physical representation of philosophical difficulties of adolescence. Definitely a fascinating character study and I can see its merit in a classroom.
Reviewed: 2016-12-17
I loved the way he wrote it...... pretty nice and different.
Reviewed: 2016-06-24
I never had to read this book in school, but this was one of the first books I had added to my Goodreads shelves when I first set up my account, way back in mid two-thousand-diggity-eight, because, I dunno, I have delusions of wanting to read all of those "Must Read Before You Die" books that people are always raving about.

So now I can say that I've read this one... and ugh. Such a waste of my time. Two things got me through this trial: 1) The hope that there would be some redeeming something at the end that would have made it worth it. Unfortunately, there wasn't. Does Holden grow during the story? I thought I spotted a few glimmers of growth, but overall, he's a narcissistic hypocrite who is more phony than any number of the people he categorically judges on sight combined, 2) The Kindle app calculating my remaining reading time. It was like watching the time ticking away until Christmas or something... It seems like it's just NEVER going to get here. I can't even express how excited I was to get to the final countdown... 1 hour... 45 mins... 23 mins... ZERO minutes! :D

As I was reading this, I had thoughts of how I would write my review, full of repetition, repeating, and saying the same thing in seventeen different ways in less than a paragraph, and I'd throw in every single one of the the 395 I-am-not-exaggerating-I-did-a-search-and-there-were-three-hundred-and-ninety-friggin'-five instances in which Holden uses the phrase "and all" in this 277 page book. But I have no patience to imitate this book, considering that reading all of that was about as fun as having a root canal with no anesthetic. (Actually, that comparison is pretty funny, because I actually WAS at the dentist to have a root canal done the last time I read Salinger, and I had no qualms then about putting it down in favor of having my face drilled on. True story.)

It's pretty amusing to me that my reading J.D. Salinger actually constitutes an endorsement for dental surgery.

"Thinking about reading Salinger? Save yourself some pain and irritation, and have a root canal instead! Anesthesia optional!"


So, yeah. There's not really much left for me to say about this. I pretty much hated every minute of reading it. I got nothing out of it. I didn't identify with Holden in any way, and I doubt that I was even jaded enough as a teen to have liked it then. Most likely, I would have just wanted to slap Holden less than I do now. But maybe not... I had less impulse control back then.

Still... I'd like to redeem this coupon please. Recipient, one Holden "Phony" Caulfield.
Reviewed: 2016-06-05
Holden Caulfield is one of those characters that lives in the immagination of a lot of people. A young man unsure of his place in the world, not really trying to fit in and struggling with his feelings of being rootless and aimless. This is a snapshot of a few days in his life, the people he interacts with and his attitude to them. He is a sorry character, but I could see reflections of my own life in his.

I would probably have enjoyed this more as a teenager but I really disliked those years so a revisit is a bit torturous.
Reviewed: 2016-03-15
Great book about the refusal to grow up. Good timing for me.
Reviewed: 2015-05-14
This book wasn't for me. I didn't relate too well to it, maybe if I read it when I was younger I would of but I doubt it. I get not knowing what to do with your life or even at the moment, but not to this extent in The Catcher in the Rye.
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