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83 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cynical Adolescent, or Innocent In A Cynical World?
This book has been challenged and banned in many places since its publication. It is amusing to think that, nowadays, as if it were given an age rating it would probably only get a PG, or a 12.

Critics have described Holden as a cynical teenager, but maybe we should reconsider that thought and turn it back on itself? Holden is an innocent, he can barely cope...
Published on 15 May 2006 by H. Pierce

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly the most tedious and worst-written book I have ever had the misfortune ...
Quite possibly the most tedious and worst-written book I have ever had the misfortune to read.

For those that are fortunate enough to have never read it, my advice to you is DON'T. It is the story of a couple of days in the life of Holden Caulfield, a whining, over-privileged prep-school brat in late 1940s New York. The 'story' is narrated in the first person...
Published 2 months ago by Anthony R. Dixon


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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about nothing much - just what it means to human., 15 Mar. 2005
By 
Dee-Dee (Ely, Cambridgeshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Catcher in the Rye (Paperback)
There's a tendency for reviews of The Catcher In The Rye to speak of it as a teenagers' book, a story 'about' the problems of being a misunderstood school kid in a cold adult world. But Salinger's novel didn't become a classic by catering for the teen market. Its universal appeal stems from its universal theme. At heart we are ALL misunderstood school kids, and it's a cold old world out there. Holden Caulfield is just a human being in very deep trouble.
Specifically, he's been sacked from yet another school, he's too distressed & frustrated to stick around to the end of term but too frightened to go home, so he spends the entire book floundering around the city looking for somebody to talk to and generally making an idiot of himself. It's the age-old theme of a troubled soul wandering in the wilderness - never mind that in this case the wilderness is the East Side of Manhattan, and Holden's wanderings include a midnight raid on his own home to talk to his own sister.
What is really going on, is that Holden is having a nervous breakdown - not provoked by some post-adolescent navel-gazing; he recently lost his kid brother to leukaemia, and none of the adults in Holden's wealthy, privileged world has bothered to wonder how he will cope with the tragedy. The answer is, he isn't coping. He is on the edge of the abyss, and its odours permeate the bitter humour of the novel.
It is wonderfully comic, and hauntingly painful. Holden Caulfield is the best and the worst, the kindest and most exasperating, the most intelligent and the least rational of people. He is the human condition, in other words. That is what immortalized the author. The publication of this book changed literature for ever. For any of us to say we don't like it, makes no more sense than saying we don't think much of 'Hamlet'. It will simply go on for ever without us and never notice.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth re-reading, 25 Sept. 2006
This review is from: The Catcher in the Rye (Paperback)
I read this when I was 17 and just didn't get it. I found the style irritating and the plot thin on the ground. I have just read it again aged 27 and was totally blown away. For me, it wasn't the rebelliousness or the cynicism that made it great - it was the incredible (unreliable) first person narration of a sensitive young person, clearly suffering from Manic Depression (or similar), through his inevitable breakdown.

I can only guess that I missed the point as a teenager because I didn't share Holden's dissatisfaction and lacked the emotional maturity to appreciate what was happening beyond his actions.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic literature, 10 July 2006
By 
Redeye (England/Italy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Catcher in the Rye (Paperback)
I've been promising myself to read this book for ages having noted references by other people and assumed there must be something special about it. I have just finished reading it and my assumption was correct. The adolescent Holden Caulfield reveals his thoughts and feelings, and I think we can all relate to these as he drifts into a nervous breakdown. His misadventures and mishaps are heart-wrenching as are his recollections of his late brother and his love for his younger sister. How times have changed from the post-war era that it's set in, he sets off on a suburban train into New York late at night and the mother of one his fellow students gets on alone! An absolute 'must' read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philosopher or patient?, 3 Oct. 2012
By 
Dave (Holmfirth, Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Catcher in the Rye (Paperback)
I think I first read Catcher in the Rye when I was 14 or 15 and I was very impressed with Holden. His cynicism and alienation matched my own. I could see the humour in the book and some of the sadness but for the most part I took Holden's observations at face value and read the book largely as a critique of a "phony" society. I suspect a lot of other teenagers have read the book in exactly the same way. It's a pretty accurate portrait of an alienated teenager and this alone makes it a good read.
Reading it as an adult is a very different experience, unless you are in deep trouble you are not going to identify whole heartedly with Holden.I can see why a lot of reviewers want to "give him a good shake" but to me this would seem to be badly missing the point.
Holden behaves badly, he is whiney, petulant and spoilt but he also has a touching sweetness and innocence about him. At the very least he is grieving deeply for his lost brother but I think it goes beyond that, he is sinking into mental illness and beginning to shut himself off from the rest of humanity, the fact that none of the people surrounding him seem to notice this is very sad.
Holden's every attempt at adult behaviour ends in failure. His idealisation of childhood seems to indicate a desire to return to it. The people he likes and approves of he never actually meets. If he did meet them you wonder how well they would get on.
The book doesn't end so much as run out of steam. I'm sure this is deliberate; Holden just loses interest in writing it as he loses interest in most things. There are hints that he has found his way to some sort of medical treatment but also hints that he is not doing very well.
I hope that this basically nice boy will recover. I would like to see him going home and "giving Jane a buzz"; maybe he will even go back to school and start "applying himself" but the overall tone makes me doubt it.
Interesting how 40 years can change you. Holden has morphed from an existential hero to a study in mental illness. Read either way (or perhaps most sensibly somewhere in-between) it's a cracking book. I really do struggle to see why so many people don't like it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a Teenage boy - but i loved it., 13 Jun. 2008
By 
C. PYE "catx" (Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Catcher in the Rye (Paperback)
I adored this book. I didn;t have to read it for School at any point, and no one ever told me i should read it to better myself, but still i found myself drawn to Catcher in the Rye as i was to the Bell Jar, and Girl Interupted, it is fascinating to view a persons internal nuerosis in the way that Holden shows his own.
Holdens contempt and indifference to everything is amazing, even Phoebe bugs him at times, here we have someon totally detatched from himself, he does not really care that he is wandering around New York bruised and bloodied, and amazingly - no one mentions it to him??! I wonder how much of what Holden says happened for real and what was Gory self glorification of his own situation?
I read the modern American print and my only critism was the final extract, where he talks of D.B visiting occasionally and being Psychoanlaysed and we presume he is in some institution - i felt that was too obvious, it wasn't required really, we knew that when Phoebe finished on the Carasol that Holdens parents would find out, Mr Antolini would say how he had flitted out in the night, Pensey would tell how long he has been unaccountable for and the whole story would be unravelled to his parents and we know that his personality (split personality maybe?) will be uncovered - which is why the last scene is too obvious, i didn't need to read it, i had already concluded it, it was just a last attempt of the Author trying to 'own' the story over the reader & interpreter (which i hate it when Authers do that!!)
Apart from that it is a fantastically written, engaging piece, you could read it in a day!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Catcher in the Rye, 23 Aug. 2006
By 
A. Hill "Zinc" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Catcher in the Rye (Paperback)
The catcher in the rye follows a few days in the life of a cynical adolecsent who has just beem expelled from prep school. Feeling that his life is a failure he sets of to New york, where he experiments with drink and sex. As he begins to discover his emotions he is helped along by his younger sister to realise that his dream of running away and starting a new life is ridiculous and what he really needs is to grow up. And come home.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Exploration Of Teenage Life, 3 July 2007
By 
C. Zanre "Eddie Zanre" (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Catcher in the Rye (Paperback)
This book has had very harsh comments and things said about it that might not want you to read this book. Let me tell you i read this book in a day because it was that good. The novel covers a few important days in the life of the protagonist Holden Morrissey Caulfield, a tall, lanky, highly critical and depressed sixteen-year-old who academically flunked out of Pencey Prep boarding school. Because he is so critical of others, and points out their faults only to exhibit them himself later, Holden is widely considered to be an unreliable narrator, and the details and events of his story are apt to be distorted by his point of view. His penchant for wild exaggeration only serves to exacerbate this. Nonetheless, it is his story to tell. Hope This Helped.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catcher in the Rye: Read it now!, 3 Mar. 2005
This review is from: The Catcher in the Rye (Paperback)
Given this as a present from a friend, I felt obliged to read this alleged 'classic'. Initially, I felt burdened to read what the popular consensus deemed as a book to be remembered in the ages to come.
The first few pages eased me in, with little event to give an impression of what the book would be like as a whole. But, with every paged turned, the book became so engrossing which lead to that 'don't want to eat, drink or sleep until I have finished this book' feeling.
The book is short and thrives in its simplistic thought patterns of the narrator. Simplistic but actually with deep feeling and meaning. The book is simply fascinating, following the decisions and thoughts of a boy seeking fulfilment in his life away from school, having been expelled from school.
J D Salinger style of writing is natural and fluid with great communication of a boy struggling with his insecurities, enjoying his objects of happiness and feeling around for a grasp of his own personality. It is a natural and, to a certain extent, slow moving and limited in spectacular and dramatic events. But, don't let this put you off, it is part of the purposeful magic that J D Salinger spills into this fantatic book.
I can only recommend this book and praise it for what it is. Get reading it, even if its people telling you its good - because it is!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catch as catch can, 25 July 2009
This review is from: The Catcher in the Rye (Paperback)
On the surface, the famously publicity shy JD Salinger's infamous portrayal of a disaffected and disillusioned schoolboy in mid-America, isn't really about anything at all, and on first reading can seem a massive disappointment. However, when one really manages to get under the skin of Holden Caulfield, there is a cornucopia of intrigue, damage, and sheer rebelliousness that has fashioned the boy from Pencey Prep into an insecure and defiant teenage runaway. Holden's `couldn't care less' attitude masks a desperate need to be wanted and loved, and his encounters with prostitutes, pimps, cab drivers, and old flames, as he runs away to New York City, reveal the wounded and insecure teenager that lurks beneath the surface of the society-hating tough guy.

Perhaps the most poignant aspect of the novel is Holden's relationship with his kid sister, where we finally understand what has helped to form his cynical and bitter veneer. Salinger's blunt style is an acquired taste, but he handles his characters sensitively and with an assured lightness of touch, meaning ultimately that this infamous work of vitriol and anarchy is actually the powerful and touching story of adolescent angst coupled with an emotionally damaged mind - stay with it from this angle and I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just ok, 4 Nov. 2014
This review is from: The Catcher in the Rye (Paperback)
Just finished this book today. No idea why it is viewed as a classic, though I can see that it would have had a different reception when it was published to how it is received today.
It's a story of teenage angst and feelings of not fitting in, but it's quite a boring story, not much happens and I can't say that I identified with or liked the main character much. As others have said there's a lot of repetition and he says 'and all' an awful lot which really annoyed me.
It's a fairly short book and it held my interest somewhat, I think I kept reading to the end waiting for some big plot changing event to happen. It never does.
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Catcher in the Rye
Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (Library Binding - 18 Sept. 2008)
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