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The Catcher in the Rye ()

The Hungry Mind Review's 100 Best 20th Century Books

Exhibit A in the case that some of those books they make you read in school are actually pretty good.
Catcher in the Rye, as everyone hopefully knows, is the story of one weekend in the life of Holden Caulfield. Holden has just failed out of another Prep School and, after getting in a fight with his roomate, flees to New York City, where he holes up in a hotel rather than go home to face his parents.

As his story unfolds, we learn that he had a beloved younger brother who died of leukemia and Holden has been extremely troubled since then.  In one of the more memorable images in literature, Holden explains that he sees himself as "The Catcher in the Rye" (he has misremembered a Robert Burns lyric as "if a body catch a body coming through the rye"). He imagines a flock of little kids running through a field of rye along a cliff precipice and he is poised at the edge trying to catch them before they fall.  But Holden isn't just troubled by the Mortality of others, as one character tells him, he is spiritually troubled by the morality of others.  He rages against all of the "phonies" and "mean people" he meets.
What could make a young man feel more ineffectual and helpless than taking responsibilty for the mortality & morality of the whole human race?

This story of a young man coming of age, trying to understand the human failings of those around him, is one of the great works of Literature & should rank much higher.


Grade: (A+)


J. Salinger Links:

    WIKIPEDIA:J. D. Salinger
-ETEXT: Read J.D. Salinger’s first short story to feature Holden Caufield. (Walker Caplan, December 22, 2021, LitHub)
    -PROFILE: J. D. Salinger in Retreat… (Helen Dudar, June 1979, Writer's Bloc)
    -ESSAY: “Predatory Men With a Taste for Teenagers” Joyce Maynard on the Chilling Parallels Between Woody Allen and J.D. Salinger: The novelist, who had a relationship with Salinger when she was 18 and he was 53, on the Allen v. Farrow documentary—and what happens when women tell the truth (Joyce Maynard, APRIL 1, 2021, Vanity Fair)
    -ESSAY: On the Role of Zen Buddhism in the Stories of J.D. Salinger (Avram Alpert, April 7, 2021, Lit Hub)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: The Paradox of Holden Caulfield: Re-examining The Catcher in the Rye (Chris Beck, 11/25/20, Splice Today)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Revisiting 'The Catcher in the Rye': Holden Caulfield is still lost. Can he be found? (Jon Weisman, 1/14/23, Slayed by Voices)
    -ESSAY: Hagiography of a Narcissist: On J. D. Salinger’s “Hapworth 16, 1924” (Grace Byron, June 18, 2024, Los Angeles Review of Books)

Book-related and General Links:
    -BIO: JD Salinger (+ links)
    -Yet Another Page on J.D.Salinger?
    -Bananafish Home
    -ONLINE STUDY GUIDE : The Catcher in the Rye  by J.D. Salinger (SparkNote by Brian Phillips)
    -The Holden Server (Salinger, whose censorship by schools many critics lament, forced the guy to take this down, read about the process)
    -LINKS: (The Literature Nook)
    -chat: J.D. Salinger Catcher in The Rye Lecture Hall
-ESSAY: How The Catcher in the Rye helped a clinical psychologist get to know herself better, and have empathy and compassion for her teenage patients (Richard Lord, 24 Nov, 2021, SCMP)
    -ESSAY: A Section Man's Experience of The Catcher in the Rye (Jim Rovira)
    -ESSAY:    So where do the Ducks go in the Winter? (Tim Lieder)
    -REVIEW: of Franny and Zooey Anxious Days For The Glass Family (JOHN UPDIKE, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of Catcher in the Rye Aw, the World's a Crumby Place (JAMES STERN, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of Catcher... (Brian Banks)
    -INDEX: Catcher in the Rye (Index of all the book's characters and topics)
    -ESSAY: (BOMC)
    -ESSAY : The truth about J.D. Salinger : We don't need exposés -- as Mary McCarthy showed long ago, the sickness is in his writing. (Geraldine McGowan, Salon)
    -ESSAY: Nonconformism in the Works of J. D. Salinger (April Wildermuth)
    -ARTICLE: J. D. Salinger Speaks About His Silence (LACEY FOSBURGH, NY Times)
    -ARTICLE: From Salinger, A New Dash Of Mystery (MICHIKO KAKUTANI, NY Times)
    -ARTICLE: Fire Fails To Shake Salinger's Seclusion (WILLIAM H. HONAN, NY Times)
    -ARTICLE: Writer, Twice Restrained, Has New Salinger Book  (EDWIN McDOWELL, February 19, 1988, NY Times)
    -ESSAY : Catching up with 'The Catcher in the Rye' (Alan Cheuse, July 2001, Chicago Tribune)
    -ESSAY : Justice to J.D. Salinger  (JANET MALCOLM, June 21, 2001, NY Review of Books)
    -ESSAY : 'Catcher' turns 50, but teen angst is timeless (Deirdre Donahue, 07/17/2001 , USA TODAY)
    -REVIEW : of Catcher in the Rye : Old Holden's plight with morons :  'The Catcher in the Rye' summed up, '01-style : Sunday, July 15, 2001 - Editor's note: Monday marks the 50th anniversary of the publishing of J.D. Salinger's seminal coming-of-age story, "The Catcher in the Rye." Here is a fictional review from the perspective of a young, intelligent reader who can identify with Holden Caulfield and his style, but being - like all teenagers - a different person altogether, not with all of Holden's reactions to life.  (Roger K. Miller, The Denver Post)
    -REVIEW: of In Search of J. D. Salinger By Ian Hamilton  (CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPPT, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of IN SEARCH OF J. D. SALINGER By Ian Hamilton (Mordecai Richler, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: Wilfrid Sheed: The Exile, NY Review of Books
       In Search of J.D. Salinger by Ian Hamilton
    -REVIEW: Steven Marcus: Seymour, NY Review of Books
       Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters by J.D. Salinger
    -REVIEW : of Dream Catcher : A Memoir by Margaret Salinger  The Flight From Fortress Salinger : Margaret Salinger's memoir illuminates a few things about her father's life and work. (RON ROSENBAUM, NY Times)

If you like The Catcher in the Rye, try:

Kinsella, W. P.
    -Shoeless Joe

Bradford, Richard
    -Red Sky at Morning

Lee, Harper
    -To Kill a Mockingbird

McCammon, Robert
    -Boy's Life

Guest, Judith
    -Ordinary People

Musil, Robert
    -Young Torless

Noonan, David
    -Memoirs of a Caddy

Potok, Chaim
    -The Chosen

Wolff, Tobias
    -This Boy's Life: A Memoir

Hotchner, A. E.
    -King of the Hill