Stephen’s review of The Catcher in the Rye > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by TK421 (new)

TK421 I, too, am waiting to review this book after a second reading. I loved it the first time, but I have a sneaky hunch I am really going to enjoy it the second time. Great review.


message 2: by Nancy (new)

Nancy I didn't love this book when I read it in high school, and now don't remember any details. Maybe I'll feel differently now...


message 3: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Brian wrote: "Glad you didn't trash it just to write a funny review- this is a wonderful book! Way to take the high road (and still write a great review)."

Thanks, Brian. I would never trash a book just to trash it as that always bothers me when I see others doing it. I usually reserve my really negative reviews for books that, for one reason or another, really pushes my buttons. I thought this book was something special. In fact, I may actually bump this up to 5 stars but I am going to let it sit for a while and see if I am still thinking about the book a few weeks from now.


message 4: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy Maybe the real reason Salinger went into hiding is that so much of the world has mis-interpretted this novel. I like your take on it. You really have to look below the surface of the character's 'noise' so to speak, in order to really see this novel for what it is. "finding the real Holden Caulfield", I like that. All this is to say: good review!


message 5: by Brandon (last edited Mar 14, 2011 12:04PM) (new)

Brandon I'm so jealous that you had that experience.

I didn't hate the book by any means; I just didn't get it. However, after your review, it really made me re-think a few things.

Good work, sir!


message 6: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Brandon wrote: "I'm so jealous that you had that experience.

I didn't hate the book by any means; I just didn't get it. However, after your review, it really made me re-think a few things.

Good work, sir!"


Thanks, Brandon. The postive feedback is much appreciated. When you have a good (or bad) experience with a book and spend time trying to convey that experience to people, you are never quite sure how it will translate. It is always nice when it is well received.


message 7: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Jimmy wrote: "Maybe the real reason Salinger went into hiding is that so much of the world has mis-interpretted this novel. I like your take on it. You really have to look below the surface of the character's ..."

Thanks, Jimmy. I can completely see how a surface reading of this book could leave someone "underwhelmed" and it is certainly possible that I read more into the book than what was intended (though I don't think that is the case). I suppose, whether it was intended by Salinger or just what I read into the text, doesn't really matter if the overall experience was postive. In the end, the postive experience is what we are after when we pick up a book.


message 8: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn I'm going to read this again as well. I disliked the book years ago but my tastes have changed. Thanks for the review Stephen.


message 9: by Stephen (new)

Stephen I hope you have a better experience the second time around. For me, it was really a matter of seeing past the surface of the main character and being able to empathize with him.


message 10: by Joel (new)

Joel i don't think you misread it at all. almost every negative review of this i read is all about how holden is annoying and it is impossible to relate to him if you don't read the book when you are fifteen. this baffles me. the layers it contains within his posturing narration only grow sharper the older you get.

it's one of those books i can't help defending. it rankles me when people trash it because the majority of the time, they are clearly reading it wrong. you know, from my POV and all. but clearly.


message 11: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Joel wrote: "i don't think you misread it at all. almost every negative review of this i read is all about how holden is annoying and it is impossible to relate to him if you don't read the book when you are fifteen..."

The ironic thing in my case is that I didn't even like the book that much when I read it at 15 and had to wait until I was 40 to be able to really understand Holden Caulfield.


message 12: by mark (new)

mark monday i am glad you liked it! i love this book. it sure gets slammed a lot these days. i suppose a person could say that holden is whiney & angsty, and that is very annoying. but i think he is also quite admirable. i would not be unhappy if my kid turned out to be like him. we would work on that problem of laziness together!

but if you are giving it your highest possible recommendation, why not 5 stars?


message 13: by Stephen (new)

Stephen mark wrote: "but if you are giving it your highest possible recommendation, why not 5 stars? ."

It is very possible (even likely) that I will bump this up to 5 stars and may even put it on my list of All Time Favorites. Sometimes, with books that have had a profound effect on me (as opposed to just an everyday read that I just enjoyed) I will let the book "sink in" for a few weeks and see if I am still thinking about it a lot and make sure it has had a lasting effect on me before bumping it up to 5 stars. It has been a couple of days now and I think this one is going to get the upgrade.


message 14: by L.M. (new)

L.M. Ironside Great review. I really wish I could have found the same strengths you found in it. I might give it a read again once a few more years have elapsed.


message 15: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Lavender wrote: "Great review. I really wish I could have found the same strengths you found in it. I might give it a read again once a few more years have elapsed."

Thanks, Lavender. This is definitely one of those books where opinions are all over the place. I disliked it when I was Holden's age and fell in love with it as a 40 year old. Go figure.


message 16: by David (new)

David Wallace Fleming I actually wasn't asked to read this in school. I read it for the first time about a year and half ago. I found myself bored and annoyed about halfway through but yet somehow still aware that the author was messing with my preconceived notions of what a book should be. A couple months after I finished reading, I was significantly impressed. I think it forced me to change a lot of my opinions.

Apparently, Fanny and Zoey is even more highly regarded among critics. At least that's what I discerned from "The Novel Since 1945" Podcast.


message 17: by Stephen (new)

Stephen I haven't read Franny and Zooey, but may have to look it up.


message 18: by Dania (new)

Dania I love your review!! And the last paragraph where you describe why he wants to be the 'Catcher in the Rye' was brilliant, I was confused about that part but now it's cleared. Fantastic Review!


message 19: by Dania (new)

Dania Also I'm completely empathize with this book because I'm going through a similar phase :(


message 20: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Dania wrote: "I love your review!! And the last paragraph where you describe why he wants to be the 'Catcher in the Rye' was brilliant, I was confused about that part but now it's cleared. Fantastic Review!"

Thanks, Dania. I'm glad you liked it and found it helpful. Sorry to hear about going through a similar phase, but I can tell you that most people find themselves in a similar situation as some point in their life.


message 21: by Brad (new)

Brad Kirk I've read this book five times and it was only the most recent read that I felt I grasped what Salinger was trying to say in the final phase of this book. 3/4 of this book is lol hilarious and then takes this dark turn at the end. I think having the benefit of a few more years under my belt really helped me to see the things you wrote in your review. Salinger is a very polarizing author, people tend to love his work, or hate it. Definitely check out Franny and Zooey, it is superb. Again, it is a book that many just hate (there is like a thirty page scene of Zooey talking with his mother in the bathroom, lol), but as other people have said, I think the people that don't like Salinger just don't understand or relate to what he was trying to say in his, sadly, limited amount of writing we have access to.


•Erin• (Paperback Stash) Excellent review!


message 23: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Thank you, Erin. I'm glad you liked it.


message 24: by Autumn (new)

Autumn Brady My thought reading this was what if all characters in every book were perfect? It seems negative reviews about one's displeasure with a book because of teenage angst would not make sense--what on earth would one write or read about? How could someone relate to perfection? Enjoyed reading your review. It is painful for me to say I still have never read this but have wanted to for a long time.


message 25: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Thanks, Autumn. I hope you enjoy it when you finally take the plunge. Despite the teenage protagonist, I think this is a book that most people enjoy/appreciate more when they are older. At least that has been my experience.


message 26: by Uyen (new)

Uyen Vo Excellent review! All of Holden's great points were highlighted brilliantly.


message 27: by Rachel (new)

Rachel You made me decide to re-read the book. I read it more than 40 years ago - and was not impressed. Time for another look.


message 28: by Ankit (new)

Ankit Agrawal Wow... What a review? I liked it as much as I liked the book... hats off man.


message 29: by Maria (new)

Maria I read your review because you loved this book, whereas I hated it. I was curious to read your perspective in case I missed something---only I got all that you mentioned from the book. So, I still rated this 1 star because there is no climax or conclusion. It just a day in the life of a teenage boy who is acting out but really a really smart and sensitive boy. I'm left asking, "So?" "And?"...."What is the point?" In the end nothing really happens. It's like Humpty sat on a wall.... and the great fall (or jump) never materializes!


message 30: by Razieh (new)

Razieh Great review


message 31: by Trent (new)

Trent Norris Holden is not really a "bad guy." He is justified by his ideas and is hiding deep down a very troubled and misunderstood life. He constantly longs for affection and never gets it. He just get rejected (and beat up) for trying to be a nice guy. Yet he still tries over and over to make someone happy to be with him.


message 32: by Trent (new)

Trent Norris Holden is not really a "bad guy." He is justified by his ideas and is hiding deep down a very troubled and misunderstood life. He constantly longs for affection and never gets it. He just get rejected (and beat up) for trying to be a nice guy. Yet he still tries over and over to make someone happy to be with him.


message 33: by Cosmic (new)

Cosmic Arcata The Catcher in the Rye is about WW2. It is a story within a story. Holden (which is the name of a car) is just a vehicle to "understand" the WW2. See my review. When you understand that Salinger couldn't say what he knew about this war so he wrote it as a children's book... Just like Felix Salten in Bambi (not the Disney version, which is probably why Salinger didn't get his published.

Salinger tells you this is nit a David Copperfield story. So don't read it like it is about Holden. Hint: look at the first page of David Copperfield to understand "Caiulfields" name.

I hope you will reread it again. This time when you get to the Merry go round play the music Salinger said was playing, and see if that makes sense or if he is using this book to tell you about money, power and war.


message 34: by Terri Lynn (new)

Terri Lynn It isn't about World War 2 at all. It was written in 1951, years after World War 2 ended, and there is no mention of the war at all. It's not a children's book though about a 17 year old.


message 35: by Angelmae (new)

Angelmae Thanks so much for this review. I read it when I was 17 and enjoyed it. Hated it when I became a parent, seeing Holden as a spoilt brat. Loving it again now at 50 as my own son turns 17. I understand now what Salinger was trying to do, for the first time in 33 years. Great review.


message 36: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Ingino Bravo! Great review. I am 58 now and have always loved Holden. I think he has a great soul.I have loved him since 9th grade. When I read this book it makes me miss Holden. I want him to keep talking forever....


message 37: by Camille (new)

Camille Mccarthy Thanks for the review. It says all the things I wanted to say about this book but didn't know how to express. I loved it too.


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