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Catcher In The Rye (1 Viewer)

What do you guys think of Catcher In The Rye? I read it once in high school but I did not really get into it. But I read it again in the summer and I loved it.
The book is nothing short of brilliant. It takes a while for it to sink in for most people, and it gets better everytime you read it. The lack of appeal it has for most people has to do with the "OK, when is something going to happen" mindset. But the characterization is fantastic, and the whole time you come to realize that the protagonistic is really messed up in the head.

Haven't read it for a few years, I really should break that out.
Yea, it did take me a while for the book to really sink in and realize that Holden was truly messed up with all the events that happened to him in his life.

Buddy Glass

Senior Member
Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is quite possibly the most abused and misunderstood piece of literature in history. Possibly.

Everytime someone publishes a novel that deals with adolescence it is compared - wrongfully - to Salinger's masterpiece. There is no novel that I know of that truly deserves comparison to Catcher in that respect.

Despite popular opinion, Catcher is not the teenage rebel's bible or the emo-kid's handbook. It is a formidable novel about a troubled, emotionally and psychologically unstable adolescent sadly and bravely, as Yates would have had it, at war with the world around him. He is lonely, lost, contradictory, confused and complex. The first-person narrative is deceptive; beneath it lies a subtle nuance and human compassion. Holden is repulsed by the superficiality and hypocrisy of the adult world into which he is, clumsily and reluctantly, entering.

Most criticism of the novel is based on the cult it has spawned, or rather, the cult that certain readers have created - Mr. Salinger is not to be held responsible. He simply wrote a complex, moving and enduring masterpiece, and if one is able to simply look past the conspiracy theories and the bullshit, you'll see that The Catcher in the Rye is nothing short of being one of the greatest novels of the 20th Century.


Senior Member
Personally, I loved it.

I think the point where I really "got" the book was when Holden was explaining how he wanted to be the catcher in the rye, catching the children before they could get hurt. It really gave me persepctive because he takes up this front against the world for most of the novel and in this one moment, if only for a moment, he tears it all down and becomes fragile as he talks about guarding the children against the taint of the world.


Mike C

WF Veterans
One of the boring-est book I ever read...

That's what all the stupid people say.

What you probably meant to say - assuming you're anything more than semi-literate - is that it's one of the most boring books you've ever read. But then again, if you read one of the most influential books of the 20th century and all you came away with is 'boring', the fault is with you, not the book. It's ok to dislike it. It's even ok to hate it, but for your sole judgement to be 'boring' suggests that maybe it just didn't have enough pretty pictures for you.
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Mike C

WF Veterans
Everytime someone publishes a novel that deals with adolescence it is compared - wrongfully - to Salinger's masterpiece. There is no novel that I know of that truly deserves comparison to Catcher in that respect.

Closest I've come across is Vernon God Little by DB Pierre. It's the satiric version for the Ipod generation. And very, very funny.

Dr. Malone

Yeah, this novel is kick ass.
I like when the hooker and the elevator man take his money, the exact amount owed and no more. And it's great he won't fuck the whore. Almost a painful scene to read.
His self confidence rivaling his doubt throughout the novel is wonderful.

For me with Squalor

Senior Member
"Like fun you are"

One of the most original sentences, love it. Me and my friend got into saying that. (From the hooker scene when she asks how old he is and he lies that he's 22 I think. Her reply is something that not only the reader but Holden himself mulls over for a while.)
Salinger misunderstood genius!


Senior Member
I LOVED the book. It's probably one of my favorites. It was boring for a grand total of 5 pages. But it was still good writing. The book is brilliant, and I love the wit.



Senior Member
I never read it. I recently read Shoeless Joe in school so I want to read Catcher in the Rye now. My teacher always talks about it


At the risk of being unpopular I didn't find it that great. The characterisation is really good, but there still has to be some reason why you want to know about this character and I didn't really get that. It didn't help that I found the main character's personality actually quite annoying. I also didn't get why such a thing has grown up around it where it's linked to lone gunmen - but then that may be because I'm british and we don't do this book in school at all.


Senior Member
I have five favorite novels. They are, in no particular order:

The Beach
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle
And, due to reading it just two weeks ago, last but not least, The Catcher in the Rye

I work at the library in my highschool during sixth period (Fuck study hall, I rather sit in a plush swirly chair), and happened across this book while sorting through some shelves. Due to being in the Honors/Ap English convoy, I was never introduced to the book through class, and heard nothing but loathing when it was spoken of by people I knew. Anyways, I picked it up, gave it a skim, and fell in love. Finished it the next day during Chemistry class. I read up on the impact the novel had with critics, and how Salinger retreated into hiding due to all the publicity. I wish he had written a few more novels. I know he has a few more books, and I intend to read them once I finish up with the few books I'm going through now.

she who sleeps

I picked it up when I was like, twelve. Mind you, I was a pretty precocious little reader, but I didn't much care for it. Didn't get the whole meaning, and it seemed like a pointless, rambling rant. (I was used to comprehensive and clear-cut and decipherable-plot-points writing at that point, like James Patterson and Stephen King). But now that I am fourteen and finally GET the purpose of the book, I think I'll tackle it again. I mean, there must be SOMETHING great about it for all these people to worship it so.


Senior Member
There's a great thread about Catcher in the Rye in the "Books and Authors" forum.

Just FYI, in case you want to check out some more opinions : ).

I love The Catcher in the Rye. It's likely the first piece of literature that I ever truly loved. Holden was someone I could identify with, and I just inhaled that novel, man. I read it at probably the perfect time, too. I see how it can be viewed as a long, rambling rant, but I could agree with it! It fascinated me at the time. If you don't get it, then you've probably never been in his position: appalled by the cruelty and complexity of the world. And that would be awkward, because I'm sure everyone has.
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A. Mann

Senior Member
(From the Catcher thread in Books & Authors) Holden was written as an unsympathetic character

I think this is where most of the confusion about this amazing book comes from. Holden is really one of the most sympathetic characters to be found in literature.

The common thread to much of Salinger's work is his struggle with one of the toughest concepts of Zen Buddhism.

The goal of Buddhism is to totally rid yourself of ego. Of the 10 Precepts of Zen Buddhism #6 is to not discuss the faults of others, #7 is to not praise yourself while abusing others and #9 is to not indulge in anger.

If you have any hope at all of eliminating ego you just can't think of yourself as better than others. You can't love yourself or any one other more than you do the whole of mankind.

Almost every encounter Holden has with someone else, both those he likes and dislike, he's struggling with his image of them. Every phony has a silver lining and everybody he admires has a touch of phony in them. Even with Ackley, who he gives it to pretty hard, he concedes "That guy had just about everything. Sinus trouble, pimples, crumby fingernails. You had to feel a little sorry for the sonuvabitch."

He uses kids, like Phoebe, Allie and others to represent innocence, a kind of pre-ego state, and his greatest desire is to protect this in them, save them from the phoniness.

In almost all of his work there is one character who has died, gone crazy or both in pursuit of this or some analogous religious goal and I don't think its a stretch to say this represents his own personal struggle with the idea particularly in contrast with his troubled youth and wartime experiences.

He could very easily have turned this into a moral tale with Holden finding success in therapy and accepting the phonies, a golden sunrise in the distance. It might have even made the point more clearly to many readers, but it wouldn't have been true to his own experience in this, and wouldn't have rang true to us. Sounds pretty putrid actually. And here's the rub, wouldn't claiming to have an answer in that way be ego?

What I believe Salinger hoped would happen is that this book would be difficult for us because we recognize the Holden in ourselves, and that we/he is as big an asshole as anyone else in the book.

He addresses this much more directly in Franny & Zooey, as well as Semour: An Introduction. Catcher In The Rye is his most "Westernized" crack at it.
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Buddy Glass said:
if one is able to simply look past the conspiracy theories and the bullshit, you'll see that The Catcher in the Rye is nothing short of being one of the greatest novels of the 20th Century.
I read The Catcher in the Rye so many years ago. I don't remember it well. But please, will you specify what you mean by "the conspiracy theories"?