The Catcher in the Rye The Catcher in the Rye question

Hate it or not?

I understand why people hate it. Existential angst, oversensitivity, and dysthymia is not everyone's cup of tea. In a way, I envy the people who can proudly call Holden a whiny s#!t.
Personally, my regard for this book has evolved from misunderstanding to overwhelming connection to nostalgic fondness. This is between the ages of fourteen and seventeen.
Certainly a book that doesn't try to make itself sympathetic to every audience, and in that way it doesn't cheapen itself for all us whiny s#!ts trying desperately to feel less alone.

Monty J Heying Agreed. Well spoken, Afsaneh.
Jan 06, 2013 08:27PM

I really did not understand all the fuss about this book which really got on my nerves and left me frustrated. In my opinion, this novel certainly does not deserve to be considered as a masterpiece.

deleted member Oct 05, 2012 03:27PM   2 votes
Loved it when I read it in school and have re-read it twice.

Hate it? Absolutely not. I thought it was incredible that J.D. Salinger was able to write a 277 page novel using only 26 different words.

I am 25 now, and just read it for the first time. I think I might be too old to really identify with Holden anymore, most of the time I thought he was a "phony" little brat, but I could see the teen-aged version of myself really identifying with him. Overall I would say that I liked it. It did not blow me away or anything, but I can see why other people would hold this book in such high regard.

Interesting comment about Holden coming across as phony. He is confused about his identity and tries to project a personality that is not his. That's why he's perceived as phony. Isn't this true for so many when going through adolescence?

I just had to read it to see what all the fuss was about...Very forgettable.

I love it. I read it every year around the holidays. It was my Winter Break read every year during school and I still do it. It was never required in any of my high school courses. Maybe that's why I ended up liking it so much. Ha. I know more people who didn't enjoy it than people who love it though.

Hated it, then loved it. As far as reading it at different ages goes, my experience was the opposite of most--that is, I read it first at around 18 and hated it. Holden annoyed the crap out of me, and I got nothing whatsoever out of his ramblings. For years the book left a huge empty, meaningless impression in my mind. Then a few months ago, for some reason, I decided to take the book back off the shelf and read it again. I fully expected to put it down after a chapter or two, just as annoyed and disinterested as before.

Instead, I was captivated by Holden right away. I loved his sense of humor, and his experiences and feelings moved me. More than that, I could look back on my own teens and early twenties and really identify with him. Maybe I am less mature than most, I don't know, but I was not very self-aware in my teens. Now, at 28, instead of being out of touch with the sort of thoughts and experiences Holden is going through, I feel like I've gained that self-awareness and understanding to look back and relate. While it's definitely true that Holden's struggles are those of a spoiled kid, I have to say my own problems at that age were too. And I think if Holden had been more aware of this, it would have made the book less real, less poignant. Because for those of us who were once lost, disenchanted youths, can any of us really say that while lamenting our lonely, sad, and/or misunderstood thoughts and feelings, we stopped to think about the problems of others? I know I didn't.

deleted member Nov 13, 2012 03:31PM   1 vote
I think it is a very well written book that is not interesting in any way whatsoever and stars a loathsome main character. It's somehow good, but completely not enjoyable. So maybe it's not good, I don't know. I didn't like it, but I recognize that it's good. Or something.

I hated Holden, I thought he was the biggest phony of them all, and when he dissed Cary Grant , I was ready to kill him.
But honestly, I loved the book. It's filled with wonderful symbolism, it talks to you, and I could identify with how alone Holden felt even though not in the same ways he did.

love it. i think the scenes with his sister are the ones that i like the most.


Very origninal. loved it.

HATED it! Read it as a teen and then about a year ago, at the age of 50. Hated it both times.I felt it was very well written, I just hated Holden. Whiny brat. I thought I'd like it because I've always felt alienated, but his "poor pitiful me" just angered me. Realizing he was mentally ill at the end of the book felt like a cop out.

georgia ☽ (last edited Mar 16, 2013 08:21AM ) Mar 16, 2013 08:21AM   0 votes
I really didn't like it, but I can understand why some people would.

Dislike it severely.

A real and unsentimental view of an adolescent in crisis. Salinger respects his characters and doesn't condescend.

I read this in school a few years ago and I honestly loved it. I was hesitant at first, but once I got into it, I thought it was amazing. Holden is a very relatable character. I mean, what 17 year–old wants to truly age? Yeah, he was whiny, but I could relate to some of the things he felt. He was so passionate about everything, good and bad.

All I read on here is '#firstworldproblems. So what? Everyone's different, after all and Holden, as a person (fictional or not) has the right to speak his mind. It got repetitive at times, but that's part of the charm. The passion with which he seems to hate everything.

la la la loved! One of my favorites.

Holden is honest, young, and in some ways foolish. Sure, he may be spoiled, but he has a mind that's beautiful to delve into. To me.

Berthe (last edited Dec 09, 2012 10:50AM ) Dec 09, 2012 10:51AM   0 votes
I loved it! But I think you need to understand the book completely before you can actually like it.
I read the book in English class and we studied it for a few weeks. In the beginning I was like 'What is this crap!?', but after a few lessons, when you to learn about it, I got to know why Holden feels like that and why he acts and thinks in certain ways. It's also AFTER I finished the book that I started to appreciate it.

It makes me laugh every time I read it, which is often, and is quite possibly my all time favorite read. Holden is amazing. He is so human and so honest, despite his constant lying and pathetic attempts to be someone else, anyone else but himself. He is definitely beyond typical teen angst, he is a disturbed character who is not able to rise above the incredible grief he has experienced in his young life. He is unable to give his parents the benefit of the doubt, which is very sad because now as a parent I can see how a child might easily dismiss most of what adults say but when it comes to their parents, they really do want to believe and trust what is being told to them. At the very least, they continue to love. I don't think Holden is capable of even that. Salinger created a masterpiece when he knocked this one out. White people problems? Maybe, to a degree. But to me (a white person) it also seems that Holden is willing to make the observations about not only the world around him but about himself, and is frighteningly transparent in his egotistical statements about how phony everyone is. Everyone IS phony. But Holden wishes he could pull it off, too. He longs to be one of the phonies. Great book. My teenage son did not share my deep affection for this novel, and I was quite disappointed about that. Maybe it doesn't stand the test of time. But as an English tutor I have had students who absolutely adore the book and to them I say thank you, thank you, thank you!

This is in my top 5 favorite books ever. I re-read it every 10 years, and I think it just gets better every time I do. I love the style & Holdens sense of humor.

Hated it.

It was entertaining and easy to read, but the repetitive phrases got on my nerves. I don't think it was that good a book.

hated it but made myself finish it, all the while hoping it would get better because it was supposed to be this great book! when i finished it, i looked at the book and thought "what a waste of time that was" and that was it.

this book is hard to relate to. I read it in high school. I just finished it again and its easier to understand and proccess now that i am older and more world wary.

I really didn't enjoy it, read it when I was 17 and 18. Amusingly none of my classmates liked it either.

What annoyed me so endlessly about the book and made me uable to relate to Holden wasn't the fact that he was unhappy or whiny or wasn't really sure who he was or what person her wanted to be. It was the fact that the only thing that Holden did was complain, think he was better than anyone and run away from his problems.

But then I could never stand people who complain without even trying to change things. And Holden definitely had all the opportunities.

I read it for pleasure and I loved it. Holden is complicated and yet very understandable. J.D Salinger's writing style was awesome especially in the way he made the 'ordinary' events in a teenager's life seem so important.
I reread this book once in a while and I love it every time.

It took me a very long time to read this book because it took me so long to get into it but I'm so glad I did because I think that it will have an impact on me for the rest of my life. I think in a way you might have to have some similarity to Holden in order to understand or feel something surrounding this book. I might be wrong.

I read it in high school and hated it. I *wanted* Holden to just go ahead and kill himself already so the torment of listening to him whine would end. I have considered reading it again as an adult just to see if I still hate it as much, but I'd imagine that if I found him annoying even when I was a whiny teenager that there's no way I could handle it now. Catcher in the Rye is the definition of #firstworldproblems.

"Mark David Chapman's inspiration to kill John.."

I think "inspiration" is off the mark. Chapman had a copy of the book, as did Reagan's shooter, but there was nothing in the book that would inspire violence.

All their possession of the book proved was that they had something in common with Holden--troubled youth, possibly searching for an identity, and disaffection toward the adult world they were trying to fit into.

Absolutely love it. The innocence of Holden.
His anger at everything. His grieving heart, as he tries to cope with the confusion of his world.
I laughed so hard, and I had my heart breaking. He is in so much pain. He wants to be untouchable. It was fascinating! It was written to perfection! I don't understand how people dislike it because he is a whiny brat. Isn't that what teenagers can be?! As they are facing the tough world- but want to appear macho and strong!! This is a keeper. A must read. I read parts from time to time,
And I enjoy it every time!

i thought it was.....ok

This is one of those works that makes you wonder how sane the author was. It's just full of so much allusion and personal happenings that it reads like Bukowski sometimes. I don't hate this novel but it was confusing and frustrating as hell.

Hate is a very strong word, so I did not hate it but I was extremely disappointed when I read it. My sister hyped it up so much and it completely fell flat.

Mega dislike. What a loser.

I didn't enjoy the book, and Holdon or whatever his name was really got on my nerves.

deleted member Nov 13, 2012 02:23PM   0 votes
This was assigned reading my junior year in high school. Normally, I hate the assigned reading books and I almost never finish them. This book was the exception. I can honestly say that I LOVED every minute I read this book. I felt a deep connection to Holden and I did not find him whiny in the least. I can understand why people hated this book, but I think knowing that it was so hated made me like it even more. It is fitting that people don't connect with this classic like they do others because a failure to connect is what this book is all about. Holden has an awful time forming relationships and ends up hating and being hated. For those of us who do understand it though, it was like a breath of fresh air and truly enjoyable and mentally stimulating.

SheRa (last edited Oct 17, 2012 01:12PM ) Oct 17, 2012 01:11PM   0 votes
I didn't like this book at all, and, like others, I don't understand what all the fuss is about. I could not connect with Holden at all, and couldn't understand his appeal for so many. Maybe I don't recall ever feeling that alienated as an adolescent. Maybe I came to it too old, reading it at 42. Perhaps a second reading with fewer expectations will render a more sympathetic reaction.

I personally don't enjoy reading it, but I do think it's a good book. I know how weird that sounds. It took me a couple tries to get through the whole thing... even though I don't like it, though, I think it has a lot to offer in the way of plotting, characters, and literary devices. I completely understand why so many people like it and why it's read in so many high school classes.

I wish I had read this book in high-school, I think I would have liked it more. However, I read it for the first time when I was 28. I know that it is not old, but it is old enough to be constantly annoyed at how whiny Holden was. Reading it at that age Holden just struck me as a spoiled brat that I could barely stand.

This book can be summed up in three words: white people problems.

I do not understand how someone can hate this book.
The eyes through a frustrated confused and unhappy boy, as he is dealt with the challenges of life. I was so drawn to the writing. Had me laughing out loud. Also had my heart tore out, when you see he is trying to cope in this tough world.

Holden reminded me so much of the spoiled rich brats I went to grad school with. They'd rally againinst the system, the man, whine about everything, then end up getting set up in a corporate job due to family connections.

I think "CITR" is an acquired taste. At first I resented the book because it was required reading in school, and because I felt that there were other, more interesting books that could have been added to the curriculum. But when I re-read the book after that unit was done, I absolutely loved it. It fascinates me the way that Holden is dichotomously a liar and brutally honest.

I love this book, but that's just me.

The linked article is great. While I feel the same way in some aspects, I disagree with the whole school required reading instill reading fear.

I read Catcher and Gatsby in school, I was far to young and inexperienced to truly appreciate them at the time. I have since reread these on many occasions. Each time I have discovered something new or different that i missed in the previous reading.

I think its hard to get a freshman to read The Scarlet Letter. There are other things going on that are more time consuming than required reading. Maybe even the required being part of it.

It also states in the article, how Harry Potter has created new interest in reading is fun campaigns. While I haven't read the series I cheer at that idea. I believe there is a certain maturity to be found in a great read that might otherwise be lost if not found.

I read it in school last year, and thought it was pretty good. I can't say I loved it, but I definitely didn't hate it. It was ok. I really liked the writing style, and I thought Holden was pretty cool. It's one of the better books I've read for a class.

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