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The Catcher in the Rye ()


Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century (64)

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.

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (A+)

  

Websites:

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: 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: SALINGER BIOGRAPHY IS BLOCKED (ARNOLD H. LUBASCH, 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
    -ESSAY: SHOULD HOLDEN CAULFIELD READ THESE BOOKS? (Donald Barr, NY Times Book Review)
    -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

Comments:

i just finished readin the book and really it was a drag but i enjoyed it i mean i thought it was really interesting and i'd recommend it to my friends.

- Krystal

- Oct-08-2006, 20:16

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people always write how they like the book but out of all the books i've read i don't think it would come anywhere in my tops. infact i think it is somewhere near the bottom.

- ghetto squirral

- Oct-03-2005, 15:10

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This book was my favorite book. It was a great comming of age n=book that you just cant out down. I love this book and dont see how a person in this universe coulnt enjoy this book. It was an amazing novel.

- Tiffany

- Jun-22-2004, 18:08

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I enjoyed reading the Catcher and the Rye because it was a very enjoyable book for Children my age. It dealt more with the life of growing up as a teenager as opposed to the othere novels dealing with politics and other items that don't relate to a 17 year old. The only thing I didnt enjoy about the book was the ending. I thought it ended to suddnly leaving the reader in to much suspense. I would recomend this book to anyone especially teenagers because it might be one of few books they would enjoy.

- Rachel Prysiazny

- May-20-2004, 12:17

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I can't be the only one who hates this book. I must confess, have only read about 5 or 6 pages over the years, leafed through the rest of the book...and found it painfully artificial.One of the things that kept bugging me was the writer's constant use of "and all' in a feeble/awkward attempt to convince the reader that the protagonist is a teenager... Just way overrated. Major con-job--and I bet the writer knows it, too. Explains why he hasn't written anything in decades.

- K.A.

- Feb-13-2004, 08:47

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