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The Catcher in the Rye

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,884,958 Ratings  ·  39,368 Reviews
"...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 ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 214 pages
Published 1976 by Bantam (first published 1951)
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Jean Cole It's not about the story. It's about the context of the story.

We have to consider it in the context of the era in which this book was released. The…more
It's not about the story. It's about the context of the story.

We have to consider it in the context of the era in which this book was released. The era is post-WWII America. We had just defeated two evil empires, and our soldiers were coming Home Sweet Home to their happy-to-be-housewives and their 2.5 kids who were to be seen and not heard.

Readers who were born and brought up after the 1960s don't realize what a revolution occurred in the 1950s and 1960s. Today being a free spirit and expressing your individuality is celebrated and encouraged. In those days you were expected to (as I was told) "Do as I say, not as I do." That may sound outrageous and unreasonable but it was, in fact, exactly what was accepted as good parenting.

And here we have 1) a main character who curses constantly, and unashamedly rejects the values of his parents and society in general and 2) a narrative style that is casual and conversational. These two factors were shocking and dismaying to some, refreshing and delightful to others.

And so Holden became a hero to some. Not in the conventional sense of the word, but because people related to him and they sympathized with the way he felt. He personified all that was wrong with society. If you don't go along, if you don't play the game, then the vast machine that is society will knock you down and even lock you away. Holden is not intended to be a hero in the conventional sense of the word. He is a tragic victim of the crappy world in which he has no control and where no one understands him.

I imagine that in 1951, when this was published, there were those who said "Yes! It's about time someone was honest!" and there were those who exclaimed "What is this world coming to?" There was change coming, that's for sure. This book was just one sign of the impending cultural revolution. That's why it's a classic. Think of it as a brick in the foundation of the revolution to come.(less)
Monika Przegalińska I think, it is about saving innocence, which is also a symbol of childhood. Holden simply wants to save his little sister (and other kids) from…moreI think, it is about saving innocence, which is also a symbol of childhood. Holden simply wants to save his little sister (and other kids) from process of adolescence and future adulthood. Hi wants to be "Catcher in the rye" - the man who saves children from falling, falling into the adulthood.
In my opinion it's not about that Holden does'nt want to grow up, he know that ge is growing up right now and he sees how painful and hard it is, so he wants to protect ever little kid from what he finds so harmful.
Just a subjective opinion:) (less)
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan BradleyCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlChocolat by Joanne HarrisOne Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
A Bite to Eat...
57th out of 213 books — 26 voters
Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyFire by Kristin CashoreGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
Seeing Red
362nd out of 1,251 books — 344 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Matt
Jul 12, 2009 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone but phonies and athletic bastards
I was worried as hell about reading this book again. The last time I read it was about a thousand years ago when I was just a kid. I was lousy with angst just like good old Holden back then. I really was. Now that I’m a crummy old guy I figured that I wouldn’t like it anymore. That’s the one thing about crummy old guys, they always hate books that kids like. Every time I reread a corny book that I really liked when I was a kid it makes me want to give the writer a buzz and ask what the hell is g ...more
mark monday
journal entry

today i am 15 years old. everything is all bullshit, as usual. i can't believe how fucked everything is around me. like i'm surrounded by zombies. i can't talk to any of my so-called friends, i can't talk to jamie, i can't talk to my parents. who would bother listening anyway. i cannot wait to leave orange county! this place makes me fucking sick. everyone is a hypocrite. everything is so goddamn bright and shiny and sunny and meaningless. FUCK, life is so full of crap.

there is one
...more
Shana
Dec 04, 2013 Shana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for the first time in the 8th grade. I had to get my mom to sign a permission slip because of the cursing. Before I began reading, I had so many expectations. Back then, I read Seventeen Magazine, and back then, Seventeen Magazine ran brainy features about books and poetry. There was one feature where they asked people what book changed their lives, and something like more than half said Catcher in the Rye. I think there might have been some celebrity comments in there, too. At ...more
Richard
May 28, 2008 Richard rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My theory as to this book's unusually polarizing nature: either you identify with Holden Caulfield or you don't.

Those who see themselves (either as they were or, God help them, as they are) in Holden see a misunderstood warrior-poet, fighting the good fight against a hypocritical and unfeeling world; they see in Salinger a genius because he gets it, and he gets them.

Those of us who don't relate to Holden see in him a self-absorbed whiner, and in Salinger, a one-trick-pony who lucked into perform
...more
Kathy
Mar 25, 2008 Kathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read the end of The Catcher in the Rye the other day and found myself wanting to take Holden Caulfield by the collar and shake him really, really hard and shout at him to grow up. I suppose I've understood for some time now that The Catcher in the Rye -- a favorite of mine when I was sixteen -- was a favorite precisely because I was sixteen. At sixteen, I found Holden Caulfield's crisis profoundly moving; I admired his searing indictment of society, his acute understanding of human nature, his ...more
Cheyenne
Aug 04, 2007 Cheyenne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If I could give this book a zero, I would. I absolutely hated it. Generally, I don't hate books, either. Usually it's a very strong dislike, and generally, I give them a second chance. But no, I will never be reading this book again.

In my opinion, Holden is the worst character in the English language. Salinger tried just too damn hard to make him 'universal', to the point where he becomes unrealistic. His train of thought is annoying and repetitive, and God, those catchphrases of his. Can someon
...more
Stephen
5.0 stars. I LOVE IT when I go into a book with low expectations and it ends up knocking me on my ass. Admittedly, this is tougher to do with "classics" but it certainly happened in this case. I remember first reading this in school (like many of us) and not thinking it was anything special. However, having first read it almost 25 years ago, I knew I had to read it again before I could feel justified in actually reviewing it. Of course, I didn’t hold out much hope that my feelings would change a ...more
J.G. Keely
Sometimes truth isn't just stranger than fiction, it's also more interesting and better plotted. Salinger helped to pioneer a genre where fiction was deliberately less remarkable than reality. His protagonist says little, does little, and thinks little, and yet Salinger doesn't string Holden up as a satire of deluded self-obsessives, he is rather the epic archetype of the boring, yet self-important depressive.

I've taken the subway and had prolonged conversations on the street with prostitutes (n
...more
Big Red
May 08, 2008 Big Red rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
J.D. Salinger’s ‘Catcher in the Rye’ was published on July 16, 1951. It was his first novel. It became very popular among young adolescents yet not so popular with older generations. I personally thoroughly enjoyed every part of this book. I felt very close to Holden Caulfield, the main character in the story, as I read it.
Holden Caulfield, a sixteen year old boy from New York, was quite unlike kids his age. He had no interest in being popular or social. From the very beginning he lets us into
...more
Haleema
Well, this was a pain to get through.

First of all, this is a shitty way to start a novel no matter how you want to introduce your main character.

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.

description
That is easily one of the saddest, most p
...more
Kat Stark
Feb 29, 2016 Kat Stark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Still an all-time favorite for sure...

Holden Caulfield was my angst.

Holden Caulfield was my shield.

Holden Caulfield was my innocence.

Holden Caulfield was my End of an Era.

If you have a problem with that, then you’re a goddam phony.


"That’s the whole trouble. You can’t ever find a place that’s nice and peaceful, because there isn’t any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you’re not looking, somebody’ll sneak up and write ‘Fuck you’ right under your nose. Try it sometime. I think
...more
Madeline
In my hand I hold $5.
I will give it to anyone who can explain the plot of this book (or why there is no plot) and make me understand why the hell people think it's so amazing.
Melanie
Jun 19, 2007 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
As a child, we are protected from life. There really aren’t many choices available, and we are certainly sheltered from a lot of the harder parts of life. It seems like children don’t feel the need for meaning quite like adults do- maybe because they aren’t forced to face the daily grind. There’s boredom, but that is not what I am talking about. Kids don’t really have to compromise like adults do. As you enter adulthood you could start to see things and people as phony or fake. Maybe not people, ...more
David
Jan 28, 2010 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay. So it's like this. My not-just-GR-friend-but-very-real-friend brian called and told me that J.D. Salinger had died maybe about a half hour ago (as I begin this 'review'). This sounds immensely absurd, pathetically sentimental, and embarrassing to admit, but I'm glad I heard it from him and not from some animatronic talking head with chin implants and immobile hair on the nightly news or from an obnoxiously matter-of-fact internet blurb, commenting like a machine on how Holden Caulfield has ...more
Lola  Reviewer
Did you know that Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon, held this book, The Catcher in the Rye, while he was arrested? He ''remained at the scene reading J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye until the police arrived and arrested him. Chapman repeatedly said that the novel was his statement.''
- Source

Well, I did not know. Not until our English teacher introduced us the book and I had to make some research on it, that is. I learned curious facts about the novel and author (had to
...more
Dan Porter
Reading this book was one of the biggest wastes of my time in the past twenty years. Holden Caulfield's problem is that he is the biggest phony he knows. Count the number of times he lies or behaves like someone he's not and then try to convince me otherwise. This is not a book about teenage alienation. It's about a smart-ass who can't deal with who he really is and spends almost 300 pages ranting about it - most likely to a doctor in a psych ward.
Chris
Jul 31, 2008 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chris by: some crumby teacher
**Included on Time’s List of 100 Best Fiction of the 20th Century**

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is what I thought about “The Catcher In the Rye”, and my reasons for liking it or disliking it, and possibly even how I felt about the work each of the four times I’ve wasted my time reading it, and all that 'Mein Kampf' kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. Also, I’d probably have to take the time to lear
...more
Nataliya
"Oh, I don’t know. That digression business got on my nerves. I don’t know. The trouble with me is, I like it when somebody digresses. It’s more interesting and all.”
Yes, this review eventually will be about the book. My reviews always are. I'm boring this way. I envy the ability of my friends to digress in their review space and tell me a story which in some way was inspired by something in the book they just read, or its blurb, or - god forbid now, in the land of GR censorship of anything th
...more
Jason
Mar 10, 2014 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful!

I had been somewhat hesitant to read "The Catcher in the Rye" after snoozing through Salinger's "Nine Stories," but I'm glad I finally came around. This book is a work of genius.

The book is a "coming of age" tale, but it certainly transcends the adolescent garbage that fills up most of the genre. The protagonist is 16 year old Holden Caulfield - depressed, aimless, and disillusioned. The entire story covers just one December weekend in which he seeks to find direction in his life after
...more
Samadrita
The great C.S. Lewis had opined - "A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest" - and who, indeed, would dare contradict him?
I had kept myself away from the The Chronicles of Narnia for a long time, believing I had already outgrown that phase of my life that would've endeared me to this famed set of fantasy tales written for children.
Eventually, when I did read The Magician's Nephew, I realized how hopelessly wrong I was.
With The Cat
...more
mai ahmd
Feb 06, 2012 mai ahmd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: روايات
...الناس أذواق يجب أن لا يكون لديكم شك في ذلك
أعرف كثيرين لم ترق لهم هذه الرواية كما أعرف أن سالينجر لم يكتب غيرها
وأعرف أن هناك أفلام كثيرة استوحت منها بل إن أحد المجانين وضع فيلم عبارة عن شاشة فارغة كتب عليها اسم الرواية ، كما أعرف أن آخرا قتل جون لينون أحد نجوم فرقة البيتلز وكان تحت تأثير هذه الرواية

ماالذي أعجبني في رواية سالينجر هو الآتي
انسياب السرد بطريقة مدهشة
أنه كتب بلسان وتفكير مراهق
لم أقرأ رواية حتى الآن نفذت لعمق وتفكير مراهق بهذا النضج وبهذا العمق
كما إن تصرفات هذا المراهق ولسانه ا
...more
Paul Bryant
Nov 08, 2007 Paul Bryant rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
A spell in the army would do that young man a power of good! Or maybe a couple of bags of heroin. Anything to stop that whining voice....
Lyn
Apr 06, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say?

that hasn’t already been said?

I’m late to the party, I’ve just now ready Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye – in 2015 – at the age of 46.

As I write this review, there are almost 2 million ratings on Goodreads and over 36,000 reviews. My friend mark monday’s review is better than many original works.

What can I say?

I wish now that I read this sooner. I’d like to know what my perspective would be from a younger self. I did not love this book. Holden got on my nerves, and I was more th
...more
Henry Avila
Dec 10, 2015 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holden Caulfield is a mixed- up cynical teenager, getting kicked out of another prestigious school, Pencey Prep, in Pennsylvania, the irony is that this obviously intelligent, privileged, 16 year- old, is somehow flunking out, why? He doesn't care about anything, especially education, bored and feeling neglected by his wealthy, New York City family . At least Caulfield passed English class, he's always reading, his big problem, he's so unmotivated, nothing seems important to this kid (set in 194 ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read a hundred so-called "classics" for the first time, then write reports on whether they deserve the label
Review #10: The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger (1951)

The story in a nutshell:
Not so much of a traditional plot-based story, The Catcher in the Rye is instead a look
...more
Licia
Feb 05, 2008 Licia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: spoiled, white, rich kids who feel misunderstood
Recommended to Licia by: 8th graade english teacher
I know there are people who thought this book changed their lives and helped them find their unique way in the world, but coming from a non-white, non-middleclass background, as a kid, I really resented having to read about this spoiled, screwed up, white, rich kid who kept getting chance after chance and just kept blowing it because he was so self-absorbed and self-pitying. I felt at the time there was no redeeming value in it for me. I was born on the outside trying my best to get in. I felt n ...more
Nishat
Do you ever stare at a tree for seemingly a perpetual night and wait as all the silence of this chirping world engulfs the void you hesitantly feel within? Do you hear the murmuring of countless leaves together as they are crushed? Conversing with someone dwelling in the long past, in your most overwhelming dream, do you after all happen to get a glimpse of our fragile existence?

The Catcher In The Rye is a phenomenal novel based on an antihero's disaffected youth. Holden Caulfield, a recent dr
...more
Islam
Nov 15, 2013 Islam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
كلنا هولدن كولفيلد، أو زيف المجتمع، مجتمع الزيف
ـــــ
قبل أن أقرأ هذه الرواية تكوّن لدى عنها صورة أسطورية كعمل بيع منه 65 مليون نسخة منذ طبعته الأولى عام 1951 حتى الآن و تصنيفه كانجيل لجيل الغاضبين و الساخطين فى أمريكا..كما أن المنفى الإختيارى الذى اختاره المؤلف" جيروم ديفيد سالنجر" لينزوى فيه بعيدا عن المدينة فى بيئة ريفية حتى مماته هذا العام و امتناعه عن نشر أى مخطوطاته الذى سطرها فى عزلته ..و منعه تحويل روايته لعمل سينمائى طالما هو على قيد الحياة..- كل ذلك اضافة إلى أن نسخة كتابه كانت بحوزة قات
...more
Briana Patterson
I read this back in high school for my AP English class. Yeesh. Where do I begin? I was first attracted to it as a blessedly upfront dialogue with gritty language after abandoning David Copperfield in disgust. What do you know? He makes a funny little reference against the Charles Dickens monstrocity in the first few sentences. That almost gets Salinger one more star from me on principal.

However, I can't say that the interest stuck. This book is the epitome of depression-filled, angsty gobbledy
...more
Maureen
Mar 01, 2015 Maureen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I ended up liking this a lot more than I thought I would!
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819789
Jerome David Salinger was an American author, best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, as well as his reclusive nature. His last original published work was in 1965; he gave his last interview in 1980. Raised in Manhattan, Salinger began writing short stories while in secondary school, and published several stories in the early 1940s before serving in World War II. In 1948 he publishe ...more
More about J.D. Salinger...

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“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.” 17206 likes
“Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” 6001 likes
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