Becky's Reviews > The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
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did not like it
bookshelves: classics, 2013, disappointing, made-my-eyes-bleed, ebook_kindle, reviewed

I never had to read this book in school, but this was one of the first books I had added to my Goodreads shelves when I first set up my account, way back in mid two-thousand-diggity-eight, because, I dunno, I have delusions of wanting to read all of those "Must Read Before You Die" books that people are always raving about.

So now I can say that I've read this one... and ugh. Such a waste of my time. Two things got me through this trial: 1) The hope that there would be some redeeming something at the end that would have made it worth it. Unfortunately, there wasn't. Does Holden grow during the story? I thought I spotted a few glimmers of growth, but overall, he's a narcissistic hypocrite who is more phony than any number of the people he categorically judges on sight combined, 2) The Kindle app calculating my remaining reading time. It was like watching the time ticking away until Christmas or something... It seems like it's just NEVER going to get here. I can't even express how excited I was to get to the final countdown... 1 hour... 45 mins... 23 mins... ZERO minutes! :D

As I was reading this, I had thoughts of how I would write my review, full of repetition, repeating, and saying the same thing in seventeen different ways in less than a paragraph, and I'd throw in every single one of the the 395 I-am-not-exaggerating-I-did-a-search-and-there-were-three-hundred-and-ninety-friggin'-five instances in which Holden uses the phrase "and all" in this 277 page book. But I have no patience to imitate this book, considering that reading all of that was about as fun as having a root canal with no anesthetic. (Actually, that comparison is pretty funny, because I actually WAS at the dentist to have a root canal done the last time I read Salinger, and I had no qualms then about putting it down in favor of having my face drilled on. True story.)

It's pretty amusing to me that my reading J.D. Salinger actually constitutes an endorsement for dental surgery.

"Thinking about reading Salinger? Save yourself some pain and irritation, and have a root canal instead! Anesthesia optional!"


So, yeah. There's not really much left for me to say about this. I pretty much hated every minute of reading it. I got nothing out of it. I didn't identify with Holden in any way, and I doubt that I was even jaded enough as a teen to have liked it then. Most likely, I would have just wanted to slap Holden less than I do now. But maybe not... I had less impulse control back then.

Still... I'd like to redeem this coupon please. Recipient, one Holden "Phony" Caulfield.
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Reading Progress

July 29, 2008 – Shelved
August 1, 2008 – Shelved as: classics
September 5, 2013 – Started Reading
September 6, 2013 –
53.0%
September 6, 2013 –
63.0%
September 8, 2013 –
84.0% "OMG will this book ever end??!"
September 8, 2013 –
100.0%
September 8, 2013 – Shelved as: 2013
September 8, 2013 – Shelved as: disappointing
September 8, 2013 – Shelved as: made-my-eyes-bleed
September 8, 2013 – Shelved as: ebook_kindle
September 8, 2013 – Shelved as: reviewed
September 8, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

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message 1: by Trudi (new)

Trudi 'Made my eyes bleed' Heh. Great shelf, great review. I've been sparing myself the agony of reading this beloved 'classic' since 1982.


Becky Keep on keeping on, Trudi. You're missing nothing. If only I could go back and talk myself out of reading this. *sigh*


message 3: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Great review, Becky. I read the book in college and remembered liking it. Are our tastes that different????


message 4: by Dennis (new)

Dennis I read this book in college and remembered liking it. Are our tastes that different??? Great (and funny) review though.


Kelly (and the Book Boar) Hahahahahaha! I love this review. I actually read this book when I was a teenager and thought it was ooooooohhhhhh soooooo profound and Holden was the end-all/be-all literary character. Blargh! What an idiot I was.

Dennis - keep the magic and don't read it again.


Jeff Save the bitch slap for the insufferable Glass family in Salinger's Franny and Zooey.


Becky Jeff wrote: "Save the bitch slap for the insufferable Glass family in Salinger's Franny and Zooey."

No-can-do, Jeff. I plan on this being my last time suffering through Salinger.


Jeff Becky wrote: "Jeff wrote: "Save the bitch slap for the insufferable Glass family in Salinger's Franny and Zooey."

No-can-do, Jeff. I plan on this being my last time suffering through Salinger."


As someone who's read them all, you are making a wise choice.


Becky Jeff wrote: "Becky wrote: "Jeff wrote: "Save the bitch slap for the insufferable Glass family in Salinger's Franny and Zooey."

No-can-do, Jeff. I plan on this being my last time suffering through Salinger."

As someone who's read them all, you are making a wise choice."


Wiser still would have been to just leave both of them on the shelf. But live and learn, eh?


Batgrl (Book Data Kept Elsewhere) I read this after high school and felt similarly. But it made me almost wish I'd read it when I was younger so I could reread it and see if I felt differently. (Somehow I think I'd turn my two stars into a one on reread - I just really don't enjoy reading about unlikable characters.)


Kathy Becky, I couldn't agree more!


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 13: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky Uhhh... Right.

I don't care whether page 53 contains the Holy Grail.

I'm not ever going to read this book again (or anything of Salinger's) because I don't like his writing, his style, or his stories, or his characters, or anything about them except maybe knowing that I didn't actually pay for the privilege of being annoyed by them.

So don't waste your hope on me. It's not going to happen.


message 14: by Batgrl (Book Data Kept Elsewhere) (last edited Jan 14, 2014 09:29AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Batgrl (Book Data Kept Elsewhere) "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."

Except it doesn't tell me much about Holden at all - as Copperfield did tell about David. But then Copperfield is 1000+ pages and Catcher is 200+, so this probably isn't surprising.

Salinger's points are not always obvious as Dickens' - as proof just look at the range of essays on what Salinger's works "mean." There's a lot of disagreement in there. But I sense that Salinger was aiming for that.

But not everyone likes lit to be a game where you try and figure out what the author is telling you, especially if the author's writing doesn't grab you. That's where I am - I don't much care for the writing, or the characters. And after that, not much left.


message 15: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky Batgrl (No, GR I Don't Trust You With My Paperwhite Data) wrote: "That's where I am - I don't much care for the writing, or the characters. And after that, not much left. "

100% agree!


Kathy I wouldn't read this again if you paid me! I, unfortunately, had to read it twice when each of my boys had to read it for school. Never again!!!


Carson Love your Gir icon! I can't say I agree with you about Catcher in the Rye but we both like Jhonen Vasquez.


message 18: by Erik (new) - rated it 3 stars

Erik I did read this as a teenager and couldn't stand his incessant whining. I'm always leery of my students who tell me their fave book is "Catcher in the Rye."

Honestly the best part about this book is the title and accompanying paragraph:

Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.


I empathize in that all I really wanted to be was a wise man on top of the mountain. I'd just sit up there and eat goat meat and give advice to people if they climbed up the mountain to ask me.


message 19: by Becky (new) - rated it 1 star

Becky I'm leery of anyone who claims this as a favorite book. I don't know how old your students are, but if they are in their teens or younger, at least they'd have that as an excuse. ;)


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