Haleema's Reviews > The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
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Oct 01, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: hate, bad-writing, half-wit-characters

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.

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That is easily one of the saddest, most pathetic introductions to a book. As I started this book, I wondered... if the introduction is like this, how will the rest of the book be?

This is what the rest of the book looked like:

"He was also the nicest, in lots of ways. He never got mad at anybody. People with red hair are supposed to get mad very easily, but Allie never did, and he had very red hair. I'll tell you what kind of red hair he had."

"I sort of used to go to Allie's baseball matches."

"It was around ten-thirty, I guess, when I finished it."

I can imagine Holden as this very insipid, boring little kid with no life in him whatsoever.

Also, Holden thinks everyone besides him is a phony and a moron. And he makes it very clear because he mentions it, like, every two pages. Literally... every damn time.

I read some of the comments regarding how I didn't understand this book because I didn't relate to it. That may be true. Very, very true. Regardless, I still think to this day that this book is a drag and has an unlikable main character and a dry, boring writing style. Perhaps I will read it again when I am older and maybe I'll enjoy it.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
October 1, 2010 – Shelved
May 15, 2011 –
page 1
0.36% ""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." Really? Ugh..."
May 15, 2011 –
page 15
5.42% "I have to be insane to NOT want to beat the crap out of Holden."
May 22, 2011 –
page 70
25.27% "Message: EVERYONE IS A PHONY!"
May 23, 2011 –
page 100
36.1% "Holden is one lonely boy."
May 24, 2011 –
page 130
46.93% "My version isn only 214 pages. Just saying."
May 25, 2011 –
page 137
49.46%
May 27, 2011 –
page 189
68.23% "God, I hate this book."
May 27, 2011 –
page 200
72.2% "Must. Finish. Crappy. Book. For. English."
May 29, 2011 – Shelved as: hate
May 29, 2011 – Shelved as: bad-writing
May 29, 2011 – Shelved as: half-wit-characters

Comments (showing 1-50 of 56) (56 new)


Spider the Doof Warrior On the Road is worse.


Selena “Classic' - a book which people praise and don't read.” ~Mark Twain

Anyway, the only reason it's considered a classic in the eyes of High Schools everywhere is because it's a "Stream of Consciousness" and got banned in many places. The second almost guarantees its place as a "classic." Combined with the first, it clinches it for high schools.


Stephanie YAY. Someone else who does not understand why idiotic, pessimistic books are considered everybody-has-to-read-this CLASSICS.


message 4: by Meishuu (new) - added it

Meishuu Couldn't agree more. There many greater books out there.


Haleema I agree with you all of you beautiful people!


Amanda I just wanted to say that I love that shelf name. "characters are half-troll". Hilarious!


Raquel hahaha I couldn't agree with you more.


Lynda Dean I agree - Holden the vile, spoilt little brat - classic? I think not. Very one dimensional, no depth at all.


Robert Bickers FYI: a left-handed mitt would fit the right hand.


Jenny Pittman Thank you, Chin....I was also disgusted by the comparison to Bella Swan.
Maybe I'm weird, but I enjoy reading about characters that aren't perfect and completely likeable. Most people aren't!
Also...does a book have to have a "lesson"? Can't it just be a story??


Rebecca A) If you can name one thing universally likeable about Holden Caulfield, I will eat my fingers off and never type a line against the book again. B) Yes, generally meaningful reads worth taking the time a person spends reading them need to have "meaning", "lesson", "purpose", etc. This book has none. It is the ultimate middle finger to the reader trying to find out what's so damn special about it that everyone else praises and deems "classic".


Aditee Parmar i couldn't agree more! :P God the book was SO dull...a total waste of time and money :/


Anisha Rohra Rebecca:
He's not likable- and he's not supposed to be. People aren't likable, at least, not if you were to hear their thoughts and be able to read their story from a first-person standpoint. The point is that he's relatable.
He's a hypocrite, but knows it. He hates the society that forces him to act certain ways, but acts them anyways. I don't know of a single person who hasn't gone through that. Just like I don't know of a single person who hasn't gone through the experience of being scared shitless of growing up, but also waiting for it to happen so that finally, FINALLY, someone will listen to you.


message 14: by Rebecca (last edited Jul 07, 2013 11:32PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Rebecca First of all, I wasn't the one who argued that he was likable or was supposed to be likable. Someone else (above) made that claim. To me, the fact that he was designed specifically to be the most overbearing, obnoxious little prick was too obvious to miss. Secondly, while I cannot speak for everyone (even those who share my general opinion about the book), I found nothing remotely relatable about him. I connect with my fictional characters quite easily, and this book was one to which I could not make any sort of connection. I kept waiting for it, but all it turned out to be was a waste of about five hours of my life that I'll never get back. If I'm completely honest about it, the reason I am so vehement in my absolute disgust regarding the book is because I was offended by that fact. This over-glorified text that I had heard people rave about for what seemed like ages was a complete waste of a few hours of my life. I began reading with that feeling of confusion you get when everyone is in on this long, drawn-out joke but you. At the end, it was similar to the feeling after someone spends the time explaining the joke and you still don't understand why it's funny. Then, you realize it's because it's not and that the real joke was you wasting your time listening. I'm glad you all got something out of it, I really am, but a lot of us did not and I personally feel like there really was not anything to get. Contrary to the opinions of others (see above) that do not believe that a story should have a "lesson", I value that in my literature. To me, that's the point, and that's really all I have to say about it.


message 15: by Blue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Blue Jiay I thought it was quite endearing, yes the character was quite a hater, but he's spunky, honest and sarcastic. He is the type of boy people wonder about, you know, lost without a sense of purpose in life and really not that bothered about taking an effort in doing anything so it's intriguing to read his mind and how it ticks. Naturally he needs to grow up, and you hope he gets there, because he is quite good-natured (eg: wanting to have a chat with the prostitute instead of actually sleeping with her). All in all Holden is an interesting character, who reminds you of those delinquents in school who you found hopeless but curious what they are so preoccupied about. You learn that they are merely depressed and think differently.


Briana Garrett So i am not nearly as eloquent as i could be with these book reviews, but if i have something positive to say i think i get my point across. The same with negative reviews. I absolutely detested this book. I only read it because i was curious as to the title and it's meaning, and it looked like a quick, easy read. It was neither. Also, the title was as pointless as Holden's entire "adventure", and it never really did make sense. I still have no idea what a "catcher in the rye" is, or where the heck the author came up with such an idea. So to summarize, i agree with the above.


message 17: by Dave (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dave Try reading it again in a few years time...maybe when you're say, 12 years old. You may then appreciate what a brilliant book it is.


Spider the Doof Warrior You know, insulting people isn't really going to convince them to like the books you like.


Redolent Terrible review


Jerry Bennett I absolutely loved this book, but I completely understand why many people are confused as to why anyone would enjoy this book.

You have to understand the audience that enjoys this book. If you can't relate to them, then you can't relate to the book. Some people are just tired of the same repeated story of the good guy winning against the bad guy. This book follows no tradition or archetypes of other books.

For me, this was a breath of fresh air. All the stories that my friends were reading all seemed to be around the same exact story just with different character names.

Because the story has no overall message, moral, or really specific plot, it felt less like I was reading garbage written by some author trying to get the most money out of a story that has already been done to death, and more like I was talking to someone.

The language and vocabulary is nowhere near formal, which causes absolutely no confusion as to what is happening. Obviously for some people, this is close to mind-numbing. Dialogue or vocabulary that is too simple for some people is just that; too simple.

For other people (such as myself) it was the one thing that got me to keep reading. I love when authors use metaphors and similes, creating a great story that gets you to think about it, but not all the time.

In summary, you are absolutely right. This book had no lesson to learn, no meaning, but that's exactly why I love it.


Adele S. How in the WORLD does the fact that Holden was going to tell you about Allie's type of red hair mean he's STUPID??? Ok, you weren't interested (but I was), but that doesn't make him stupid...

ALSO: Holden's attitude? He hates everyone because HE'S afraid of being hurt. He thinks that if he dislikes them first, they can't hurt him. He isolated himself because he's so afraid of being rejected. And another reason: HIS LITTLE BROTHER DIED OF CANCER. HIS FRIEND COMMITTED SUICIDE. If that doesn't make you messed up, what does?

And finally: the point of the story. Holden doesn't want to let go of his childhood (he's "Holden" on to childhood). He's literally frightened of growing up. But over the course of the few days the story takes place during, he realizes that he HAS to grow up. The book is a bulidingsroman.

You obviously can't relate to the book, so you hate it. People like it BECAUSE they can relate to it. END OF STORY.


Adele S. And how DARE you compare Holden Caufield with Bella Swan?


Karen a classic book does not need to teach a lesson learned, as you suggest.


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 made into a movie.

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.


Karen Synesthesia wrote: "On the Road is worse."

Love both books!


Haleema Redolent wrote: "Terrible review"

Thanks.


Haleema Dave wrote: "Try reading it again in a few years time...maybe when you're say, 12 years old. You may then appreciate what a brilliant book it is."

Gee, thanks. That really motivated me to reread this book.


Haleema Chin wrote: "Normally I understand when people hate this book, but what I don't like is that you've compared him to Bella Swan.

We can all agree that Twilight is the epitome of indulgent fantasy, with the girl..."


I honestly was not trying to be mean by picking on small things. It's just that it's what I noticed about the book that annoyed me. A lot of people enjoyed this book, I understand. However, I just did not appreciate it. Maybe I will read it after a few years and I might like it.


Haleema Adele wrote: "How in the WORLD does the fact that Holden was going to tell you about Allie's type of red hair mean he's STUPID??? Ok, you weren't interested (but I was), but that doesn't make him stupid...

ALSO..."


He is stupid because he does not need to explain every thought he has. It's pretty much redundant. And I can do whatever I want, whether that be making a comparison to a character or disliking the writing style. It's my opinion. =)


message 30: by Rogier (last edited Jan 16, 2014 04:32PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rogier Sorry to hear you did not like it. I liked it but it is not one of my favorites . It is always nice to read different opinions. Tnx for the review


♥ℳelody Great review! This was a school assigned book for me and I remember not caring for it. Holden was such a bland careless protagonist. Love your honest thoughts on it, very insightful. I can see you are being attacked for it which is a shame. Why folks take the time out to post on others reviews to shame them because they disagree I will never understand.


Karen Haleema wrote: "Adele wrote: "How in the WORLD does the fact that Holden was going to tell you about Allie's type of red hair mean he's STUPID??? Ok, you weren't interested (but I was), but that doesn't make him s..."

I accept that the story wasn't your style of writing, but Holden did have to explain every thought he had- that was the point of the story. To say he's stupid for doing so is not accurate, you just did not like the book. That's fine. It is still a classic and well written.


Delia All of your criticisms are the point of the book. It's a portrait of being a teen, and teens often see everyone as fake, unreliable, mean, or old. Also, Holden using the passive voice is on purpose. It's supposed to be how a teenager thinks and talks.


Cosmic Arcata I just wrote a post in the discussion group called Breaking The Code to the Catcher in the Rye about the record by Little Shirley Bean.


Isshi69nikkei Totally love the part when you say he is male Bella Swan :D


James2005 well, different people have different point of view. But I suggest that if you read it again, you may find how wonderful this book is.


Haleema I might read it again! I was honestly very young when I first read it and most likely did not understand it.


Laojimmy998 Noooooo, there are so many deeper motifs and themes in this book that speaks volumes to people because everyone can identify a time in their lives when they felt like everyone was against them and the sense of loneliness and isolation. Its a great book and if you can't find the meaning behind it, look on Sparknotes and you'll start to understand why it is such a great book (however, i find Holden's character unrelatable but uses the typical teenage dialogue)


Frances I am re-reading this as an adult to see if it improves with maturity. It doesn't and remains as insipid as ever.


Haleema Frances wrote: "I am re-reading this as an adult to see if it improves with maturity. It doesn't and remains as insipid as ever."

Lol! I don't know. I am still tempted to read this once again to see if my opinion of it changes but a lot of people are telling me it's still the same. I'm just going to read it again!


Cosmic Arcata Frances wrote: "I am re-reading this as an adult to see if it improves with maturity. It doesn't and remains as insipid as ever."

Give an example. What would have made this book better, as far as you are concerned? What did you hate the most?


Cosmic Arcata Rebecca wrote: "First of all, I wasn't the one who argued that he was likable or was supposed to be likable. Someone else (above) made that claim. To me, the fact that he was designed specifically to be the most o..."
The joke was that the references went over your head because they were written for a different generation and because the educational system wants to make you read it in a literal sense rather than a political allegorical. If you knew that to truely understand the book you would neednto listen to the songs mentioned, look up the names and build a context to read and understand the book i think you would have come away with a richer experience. Unfortunately, most people do not have time to do thie and lack the context that the generation it was written for had available to them, without all this work. Another words Little Shirley....Temple would have been the natural reference and her first film was Stand Up and Cheer. A movie that promoted going to war to get out of the depression...and so the reference to the football game, the english job and I hate the movies would have made more sense as well. At least it made a huge difference for me.

I started a group about the Catcher if you are interested message me.


Yasir Anjum What, pray tell, is wrong with the prose, exactly? You seem to be showcasing it more than criticizing it. I genuinely want to know.


message 44: by Kristy (new) - added it

Kristy I love your gif


Petra I hate your gif


message 46: by Jane (new) - rated it 1 star

Jane Upshall Don't bother rereading it as an adult . It's ridiculous.


message 47: by Cara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cara It's a generational thing


Haleema Petra wrote: "I hate your gif"

Thank you.


message 49: by ♥ℳelody (last edited Jul 31, 2016 11:39AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

♥ℳelody This is another prime example of why I HATED reading assigned books in school. I seriously thought something was wrong with me when I couldn't even finish a chapter. Ugh. This one was among quite a few I didn't get the big deal over.

ETA: Nice honest review. For those making it extremely personal with nasty comments? Lay off. Get a grip. It's not that serious.


Books are TARDIS Whoa there. I think this review is wonderfully honest and amusing. It takes great strength to be honest IMHO. But, this comments section, it just takes the cake. All y'all really think that being condescending and antagonizing is the way to win people over *slow clap*


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