The Catcher in the Rye The Catcher in the Rye question

Is this book seriously over-rated or did I didnt get the message in this book?

Michael (last edited Mar 28, 2014 08:03PM ) Mar 28, 2014 07:54PM   2 votes
I'm not going to try to convince those who don't go for Catcher that it's the best work of literary art ever, because you're either floored by a book or not. There's not much I can do (or would care enough to want to) to change your opinion. When I first read Catcher at 17, all I could notice was the "the world sucks, it's all phony!" crap that I could relate to at the time.

Now that I'm older, I find I can't relate to Holden on a personal level anymore. That's a good thing. But the book is still exemplary and useful to me as an author, both for authenticity of voice and for something Salinger does exceedingly well that isn't mentioned often. The whole work is extraordinarily unreliable first person narration - we can't trust a word Holden says about anything, as he chronically lies to everyone, including himself. Yet at no point in the story are we ever in doubt of how young & awkward he comes off to the rest of the world, and know precisely how other characters view him even when he doesn't often realize himself. Salinger does it with dialogue and selective details (especially clear with the girls Holden dances with and the scenes with old Stradlater) and within all the olds, goddamns and it really dids, Salinger effectively creates a objective world within an intensely subjective narrative.

That's crazy awesome skill.

M 25x33
Demetrius Sherman Appears you are expressing what was called "The Generation Gap" and this might be Holden's frustration and what the book is about. ...more
Dec 14, 2014 11:39AM · flag

I find this book deeply disturbing. I appreciate the symbolism around the loss of innocence and teenage angst but for me what sets this book apart is the compelling g sense of isolation of the main character. It's unusual for a novel to have such an uncomfortable and complex character in the lead role. I think it's well written in that you still feel strangely engaged with Holden despite the fact that he is clearly psychologically unbalanced.
I don't think Salanger intended us to like the book as such. I think it's more about being taken on a journey through the mind of someone you would otherwise never connect with. It's intriguing and insightful rather than 'a good read'

Monty J (last edited Feb 07, 2014 10:55PM ) Feb 07, 2014 10:52PM   1 vote
Mahrukh wrote: "I really tried hard to find the that secret something that made this book 'good' but i couldn't. Would you guys help me out here?"

Everything you need to understand the book is here:

And here:

And here:

And here:

I can sympathize with your frustration - I had similar sentiments in my youth toward the novel. For some reason, I could just never get with it. I wasn't engaged and didn't see what all the hoopla was about. Then I read it last year and it bowled me over - I fell head-over-heels in love with this novel.

I think with classics it's important to be open to the idea of re-reading them again at different points in your life. Experience will render new dimensions to truly complex novels. My favorite review that encapsulates the ever changing dimensions of CitR's affect on the reader is here on goodreads:


If you don't look for the message and enjoy the story itself and the beauty of the characters you would better see the magic and prestige associated with this book. Sometimes what makes a book good isn't an exciting plot or a deep meaning but instead just the simpleness and reality behind the story.

Book is terribly over-rated!

U 25x33
Rosncranz You don't "need" to justify your comment. It does however make you much less obnoxious when you do elaborate. ...more
Mar 24, 2014 01:29PM · flag

Crazy. This is a great book. I guess you have to be a 16 year old male to appreciate it, lol. (I did read it when i was around that age). In fact, I think I'll read it again soon.

try to read the book notes of this book :)

I read this book as an adult when I decided to catch up on all the classics I'd missed in school. All I remember from it was finding Holden completely, hysterically funny, such as when he's commenting on the mother of a classmate who probably knows that her son is a jerk: "But you can never tell about mothers. Mothers are all slightly insane."
So yes, I missed whatever profundities existed in the book. But then I am a little thick.

I don't see it as overrated book. This is definitely a great book. I enjoyed the presentation of the story. It gets 5 * for readability. It suits to all masses.

I loved the book from the get go when I read it at 14 years old. I often go back to it when I want a smile. I think the book hits people differently but I thought it was one of the funniest stories I have ever read. The back drop is pretty sad, ultimately, but if you are willing to break with reality: Welcome to Holden's world. I picture Robin William's Dead Poet's Society meets Michael Keaton's The Dream Team.

If you read this book literally and at face value it may seem like it really doesn't have anything to it. It needs a closer read for the messages to emerge. That being said, it is chalk full of hidden symbolic meaning. The most prevalent being the field of rye that Holden imagines, which is a symbol of Innocence. He is troubled by his loss of innocence and dreams of saving children from the same fate. He is deeply troubled in his transition from childhood to adulthood, from an innocent world to one he sees as a phony world full of lies and deceit. This is the essential message I remember reading from it in school so long ago. Really besides that, and the symbolic meanings all over the book, the other thing I can say is it's the point of view of an 'angsty' teenager whose mind we can take a look into and experience life the way he experiences it. I think its significance is that we can all relate to him to our own teenage selves to some degree, and have someone to commiserate with, cry with, laugh with, reminisce about, and what have you. Whether or not you find the book good depends on the reader, it just so happens this one speaks to a lot of people for whatever reason.

I received this book as a gift when I was about nine years old and have read it almost every year since...obviously at 9, I probably shouldn't have been reading it but I have always loved Holden and have appreciated him in different ways as I have gotten older. As an adult, I still feel a connection with him...Holden is lonely and he's sad and he's disgusted with the world in ways that he doesn't completely understand.

I love the book because I have always been able to identify with Holden, and the fact that an author can create such a character is amazing. However, not everyone will feel the same way. It has nothing to do with intelligence. We all have different books that speak to us. I hate the book 1984, which is always shocking to people. I have re-read it a couple of times, hoping to understand the hype, but no dice. Also, I don't understand Faulkner any better with a graduate degree than I did when I was in high school. His writing confuses me. Sometimes I want to punch Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald in their faces for being so whiny.

The beautiful thing about books is that there are so many! We don't all have to enjoy the same ones. Share your ideas about books, give people a new perspective, but don't book-shame!

But yeah...The Catcher in the Rye is NOT overrated in my opinion

Catcher in the Rye is unfortunately , like most classics is misrepresented in popular culture. People think that this is some sort of an innocence manifesto whereas it's a very good book about a rich male teeanager's life and his frustrations about sex and growing up . If you see the book as what it is , you can see that Holden is one of the greatest creations in the whole literature.

Paul (last edited Feb 11, 2014 08:01AM ) Feb 11, 2014 07:59AM   0 votes
Despite the constant regard and defense of this book it is insanely over rated. I hated it at 14 and I hated it 44. In fact it is in my list of the top 5 worst books I've ever read.

So some speed freak (Salinger) goes into a hotel room for a weekend and comes out with CitR. The Seinfeld of books a book about nothing unless you consider a repetitively catch phrase spewing spoiled brat doing nothing saying nothing and never finding a point to actually be something.

This book is repetitive to the point of it being painful. He Says he's a crazy man but actually does nothing, thinks everyone are bastards for no real reason and spends the entire book whining and bitching...if I want that I have teenagers of my own or I could just watch "The View".

Like Cloud Atlas it's one of those books that people will try and convince you that if you don't like it it's your fault...YOU don't get it instead of realizing meaning was attached after the fact and they've been sucked into the zeitgeist of the books created culture similar to how religion works...What! You don't believe? Whats wrong with you? It's trying to tell you something important...well it's not. it's just an over rated boring repetitive piece of crap

The main character felt completely alone. It's pretty obvious in the book. I haven't read the Rye since last summer but I remember the part when he calls a prostitute up to his hotel room. He thought he wanted her to join him in sexual activities but when she went up he really just wanted to talk to her. Then when he went to the bar with his old classmate. Holden didn't even really like the guy, he just wanted someone to talk to. I think that's the whole point of the book: the loneliness felt in adolescence. If you can't relate to Holden or you didn't grasp the concept of this book, you're probably not a lonely individual? I don't know.

I could be wrong, but that's how I perceived it and that's what I believe art is. It's not exactly about what the author thought when he was making it but about how you feel and the feeling it brings out in you when you read/look/listen to it.

I definitely think Salinger was an artist and this is one of my favorite books.

Okay, this is what is going on with this book. When it was written it was really a big deal because it was quite rare to have a book written from the perspective in which it was written. A slightly troubled teenaged boy trying to work his life out. I totally get it when people say that it is over rated, though. I mean, now a days probably the majority of first person novels are told from the perspective of a teenager. When I was done with it, I wasn't like, amazed by this book like I thought I was going to be. But I actually really liked it anyway. I understand what you mean.

One of the most overrated books in American Literature.

Most over-rated writer in all literature? Bill Shakespeare. In his day, fine. Nowadays, cliched (even if he originated the cliche), corny, boring. He wasn't even a good writer in a grammatical sense, made lots of errors, made up his own words when it suited him. He has achieved literary God status, but if he was an unpublished author now, he would be rejected everywhere he went. If he self published on Amazon he would start collecting scathing one star reviews. You can't really assess writers out of their historical era.

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