The Catcher in the Rye Paperback – 4 Aug 1994
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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 16-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 haemorrhages 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. --Amazon.com
About the Author
J D Salinger was born in 1919. He grew up in New York City, and wrote short stories from an early age, but his breakthrough came in 1948 with the publication in The New Yorker of 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish'. The Catcher in the Rye was his first and only novel, published in 1951. It remains one of the most translated, taught and reprinted texts, and has sold some 65 million copies. It was followed by three other books of short stories and novellas, the most recent of which was published in 1963. He lives in Cornish, New Hampshire.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 with the cynical world at all. He is so innocent and alone that he tries to get a prostitute to just chat and keep him company.
He has been through some awful things, and he is desperately lonely. Nobody seems to notice he is falling apart, he is adrift in an uncaring world.
The book is somewhat dated, but it is still something that teenagers could get a lot from. In fact, anybody who feels they can relate even a little to the protagonist should pick it up too.
The lack of accountability by his teachers about his disappearance really do mark this as reaching out from an earlier era, as do things like the causal racial references. So why has a book which in many respects is outdated stayed as one of the major books set in English classes across the world? It must surely be the strength of emotion and the poignancy that shines through; Holden is still a character that can be identified with, even by todays adolescents. He is an exquistitely rendered character, and through his story you can learn a lot about yourself as well.
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!
I read it in a couple of nights. The first night I felt like someone I had thought my friend had let me down in some way. I started to suspect that it might be the typical overrated classic.The boy starts a story from some place he's confined in, but he doesn't elaborate. He then starts the telling of what happened last Christmas, which eventually led to his being where he is. As much as I tried, I could find nothing especial there, just the boy and his school mates and troubles and the crazy decision of flee to avoid parental confrotation and an immature teen with a lot ot maturing to do. He most probably would end up doing something stupid and being caught and all. Perhaps it was too late. Perhaps I was too late, and should have read it just when Mr. Montejo told me to.
Yesterday night, I picked the book again. Sadly, more out of the respect I had been brewing for the last years than out of real interest, but I picked it anyway. And then IT happened.
At some point of Holden's account,everything just clicks. Where he was, why he was there, what was going on with him. So I had to read other's thoughts about this amazing character.
I wasn't really surprised at the bunch of negative reviews, and neither I was at the bunch which considered it a masterpiece.Read more ›
I can't say exactly in plain and reasonably simple words what makes this novel so fantastic, for I feel that it is really a personal experience for each reader, to make an emotional connection with it. All I can say is that I feel that I connected with Holden, and that is it. I firmly believe that those who dislike (or hate) this novel are simply missing the entire point of it. You have to have experienced emotions similar to what Holden is going through to get a full grasp of this novel, and for those who find Holden moronic and egotistical, this is impossible to do as they cannot empathize through him.
This is the only book that has often made me laugh and cry, often both at the same time. It has no other political or social meaning, and is viable for every generation. I hope they never make a film of it, because, as J.D. Salinger put it: "it wouldn't be what Holden wanted".
Overall then, it seems that "The Catcher in the Rye" is truely a book of literary Marmite: you either love it or hate it. But whatever your view, you should still read it, simply because of the widely varied opinions of the novel.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Strange story which is well written and full of interesting characters but I feel it was a lot without direction or purpose. Simply the meanderings of a confused teenager. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Keith
I thought it was awful, dated and from a different time that doesn't translate well at all from me I'm afraid.Published 1 month ago by angryman
OK, interesting writing style but just not very gripping. I assumed it was going somewhere, then it didn't.....Published 1 month ago by Alex Whitson