Dan Porter's Reviews > The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Sep 04, 2016

Read in April, 2007 , read count: 1

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.
112 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Catcher in the Rye.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

02/02 marked as: read
08/22 marked as: my-english-major
08/23 marked as: read
09/04 marked as: classics-project
09/04 marked as: read

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-29 of 29) </span> <span class="smallText">(29 new)</span>

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I agree. I definitely think Holden needs to look in a mirror and realize that he's the phony. To get our class to read this book my teacher told us that it had been banned in other schools, so naturally everyone was desperate to read it and find out why. It turns out that the book was never banned, she was just trying to get us to read. It was a huge waste of time.

Tanya (aka ListObsessedReader) It's funny because everything you have said in your review is exactly the point of the novel. Holden IS a phoney he just can't see it. He IS telling his story to a psychiatrist. We are allowed one of the nearest glimpses we can get to being inside the head of somebody who is spiraling out of control, we're just not given the closure of his being aware of it.

message 3: by Dan (new) - added it

Dan Porter That's why I can't understand how Holden became the icon of teen angst. He's pathetic...which may be the whole point of teen angst. Maybe that's why Salinger became a recluse. He puts his best effort into a novel and almost everyone completely misses the point.

Tanya (aka ListObsessedReader) I'm not quite sure why he is a teen icon either. I did have my 'issues' with this novel. When I finished I had to sit and think about it for a while before I could accept the fact that basically nothing happens in the book. Once I stepped back and though about it I could begin to appreciate it for the reasons you disliked it. It was the same with The Great Gatsby, with more time, after I finished it, it grew on me more.

Also to Lindsay the book has been banned in many places, particularly in America

By the way please don't think I'am attacking you for disliking it. We just had such differing opinions on this one that it interested me.

message 5: by Dan (new) - added it

Dan Porter Tanya,

I didn't feel attacked or offended in any way. One of the things I enjoy most about Goodreads is being able to talk to friends about what we like and dislike and why.

The main reason I didn't like the book is because Holden is the kind of person that, if I knew him in real life, I would avoid. Since the book is Holden throughout, I tend to have the same reaction to the book. I will admit that over the two years since I read it, I've found it popping into my mind at random times so there must be something about it that touched me in some way. I'm beginning to think that may be my belief that the real point of the book is that we need to truly know ourselves before we start slinging mud at the rest of humanity.

Hollis I'm glad someone else dislikes this book even more than I did. I just didn't get it all: I don't understand why it has such an enthusiastic fan base.

message 7: by EZRead (new)

EZRead eBookstore Me, too! I could not understand why this book has been considered a classic. Yes, there's originality in the perspective and formatting, but that's it. Otherwise, the kid is just an annoying brat who won't learn his lesson.

Hollis Yeah, it just pissed me off tbh.

Kristina Aziz I rather liked the book when I first read it at 15. During that time it has been discovered that to some point, I was mentally ill. :) I will always be biased because it was a book my first crush loaned to me, but the first page had me making faces for the language alone.

Allen All that is actually a vital part of this book. Although Holden rarely, if ever, admits his faults, the reader must really try to go more into depth with this book. Holden is obviously emotionally and psychologically scarred. His pain is real. He's obviously hypocritical, but that doesn't change the fact that his pain is real. I can relate to him.

You should never think any book you read is a waste of time. They all teach you something no matter what.

Chantel People just stop at the surface when reading books... try to dig a little deeper. Be creative with your imagination otherwise you will never like any meaningful books. This is not chick-lit/thriller. There are a lot of messages in this book if people actually bothered to "think" about what the book says

Allen Chantel wrote: "People just stop at the surface when reading books... try to dig a little deeper. Be creative with your imagination otherwise you will never like any meaningful books. This is not chick-lit/thrille..."

I agree. There's more to this book than people think. It doesn't need a typical plot that a novel usually has in order to be an amazing book. People got too used to reading that type of layout.

Chantel People actually overlook the parts of his character that prove that his pain is real and not just petty teenage "drama". He is not selfish it's obvious:
1. How he treats the nuns even though he's not really catholic (how many of us do that?)
2. How he is protective of Jane (he was worried sick about her)
3. How he treats the prostitute
4. How generous he is with everyone without any ulterior motives or feeling that he has to (Ackler and Stradlater, the nuns). He just gives ( how many of us do that without ulterior motives?)
5. How much he loves his sister
All this and other things I don't recall show what a kind and wonderful person he is. He is just going through a phase. We could all learn a lot of lessons from Holden.
You should always discuss books with friends because there's always someone who understood something you missed!

Allen Chantel wrote: "People actually overlook the parts of his character that prove that his pain is real and not just petty teenage "drama". He is not selfish it's obvious:
1. How he treats the nuns even though he's..."

I very much agree with this. Fuck everyone who thinks he's nothing but a whiner. Enough said. Fuck all of them because they're heartless pricks who can't fucking think, and they only see the negative side to everything. No wonder why the world's so fucked up, especially our society. Even when good news is there, people shoot it down like it's nothing because they're too fucking pessimistic, so they'd rather read the negative shit about people getting killed and babies getting drugged. Some little eight-year-old boy plays basketball with the players of the University of North Carolina basketball team and shows good fundamentals for a kid his age. People are so fucking cruel and pessimistic, so they'd rather say, "But no one was guarding him! There are other kids who could do better!" That shows how much of a shitty hellhole we live in. Fuck the world. Fuck society.

Richard I really do think that if you can only see HC as a whiner, you have missed what this book is all about, and probably your own teenage years as well. Yes he whines. All the time. That is what teens do. HC and all teens who are trying to grow up emotionally have to go through such a stage.
At some point in our lives, if we have an ounce of soul, we realise the world and most people in it are truly messed up. The Catcher in the Rye is about coming to terms (or not) with that.
If your teen years were blissfully smooth and without any introspection and fear/anger at all the senseless crazy stuff that seems to be unrelenting, you are probably a psychopath. I'd rather have a drink with HC than you, any day of the week.

Kaylah I think the point is that he is the biggest phony he knows. I didnt feel a connect with him at all as a character but we as humans are all different. Ipersonally felt a greater connect with Why the Caged Bird Sings. I disliked the book as well, waste of my time. Thats my opinion. :)

Richard Kaylah wrote: "I think the point is that he is the biggest phony he knows.."

Of course he is - who else does he know? And being the age he is, he is just beginning to see himself as a person, and his deep introspection is giving him insights into himself he has never had before. So he is seeing how he does not live up to the bright ideals of childhood, and is therefore a phoney. He hates this in himself and in others. did you not go through this as a teenager?

I'm glad i did. It taught me to step up to my life...

Sally I'm not entirely sure, mostly because I never particularly excelled in comprehension, but I think that was the entire point of the book.

Anisha Rohra "It's about a smart-ass who can't deal with who he really is."
That's what being a teenager is all about though!
Trying to deal with what you are, not wanting to grow up to take responsibilities and to lose that innocence that we've grown attached to.
At this point in our life, we notice everything that an adult does- the horribleness of reality, but don't yet want to deal with it, to GROW UP.
He became a 'teen icon' because everything bad you're saying about it is everything bad adults say about teenagers ALL THE TIME.

message 20: by Jude (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jude Brigley You should only read this book between the ages of 14 and 17 - then you get it.

Jorge I'm 27 and I'm enjoying the hell out of it and all.

message 22: by D.S. (new) - rated it 3 stars

D.S. Taylor I felt the same way about it.

message 23: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah I haven't read it in a while so I don't rightly remember, but doesn't Holden end up in a loony bin in California?

Sally No, people think he was in a loony bin but he was actually getting treated for TB.

Sally No, people think he was in a loony bin but he was actually getting treated for TB.

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 27: by Kacielowrey (new)

Kacielowrey I think Holden is supposed to be a phony. I think that's kind of the point, that's he's so oblivious to his own problems because he's focused on everyone else. In a way Holden's phoniness is part of his obsession with innocence and Allie's death. Holden gets so upset over Jane going out with Stradlater, and the real reason he wouldn't sleep with the prostitute, and why the grafitti in the museum makes him so mad, and a hundred other little things in the book. Holden wants to protect the innocence of everyone around him, and he's mad at people who have already lost theirs, and he's mad at people who try to take it from others. But Holden himself is no longer innocent, and if he's honest with himself then that means he has to deal with the fact that he doesn't live up to his own standards. However, if Holden has to worry about fixing himself, he can't devote his time to protecting Pheobe and the others, so it's easier for Holden to deny his own problems and worry about everyone else. Holden's realization at the end with the carousel and allowing Pheobe to try to grab the ring is important not just because it symbolizes Holden letting go of Allie, or realizing that he can't protect Pheobe forever, but also because if opens the door for Holden to focus on himself.

Rebbie I'm so relieved to know that I'm not the only one who feels this way! I get what Salinger is trying to do here, but I still don't think it's that good of a book.

7jane Yep, he's insufferable, but then so many of his age are... also *still* not dealing properly with his grief over his younger brother's death (adored his intelligence, and innocence of course). It's a love-it-or-hate-it book, frustrating or interesting. :)

back to top