The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

76%

25 Critic Reviews

Teenagers can relate to it because of its complex themes of rebellion, identity and independence but I would recommend you read it before you're an adult otherwise you may have the urge to slap Holden for his actions when reading the book!
-Guardian

Synopsis

Anyone who has read J. D. Salinger's New Yorker stories - particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme - With Love and Squalor, will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is full of children. The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.
 

About J. D. Salinger

See more books from this Author
Stanley P. Baldwin received his M.A. in English from the University of Kentucky. He is a writer and teacher living in Nebraska.
 
Published January 1, 1951 by Little Brown. 277 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Biographies & Memoirs, Self Help, Political & Social Sciences, Romance. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Catcher in the Rye
All: 25 | Positive: 22 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Excellent
on Nov 02 2011

This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by dewdrop on Aug 27 2014

Whilst I thought all of the characters were very realistic and well thought out, the description was lacking for me as it failed to describe the surroundings and other people.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by The Dormouse on Feb 19 2014

The Catcher in the Rye is like nothing you will have read before. It has a mysteriously appealing quality that I loved, but I couldn't recommend this book with the words, 'You have to read this', because it is likely that it will disappoint as a story.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Aiman.A on Jun 21 2012

Teenagers can relate to it because of its complex themes of rebellion, identity and independence but I would recommend you read it before you're an adult otherwise you may have the urge to slap Holden for his actions when reading the book!

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Anne Roiphe on Jul 05 2002

But when I picked it up again recently and reread it, I saw that I had, in fact, missed the point. This short novel is about mourning and loss...The Catcher in the Rye remains the book that froze history at the moment before we could see ourselves as children falling from the cliff, as a people in mourning.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Aiman.A on Jun 21 2012

J.D. Salinger's novel is a wake-up call to all teenagers and in a sense, is an inspiring read because it sends out the message that we should all remain hopeful and true to ourselves.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by James Meyer on Feb 10 2014

J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye will no doubt continue to be banned, but it will also continue to thrive among readers who dare to learn. Adults should not hinder an adolescent from experimenting and experiencing life.

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Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Eugene Kang on Sep 10 2013

Though Catcher’s legacy is unquestionable, the book does seem to lose some impact on today’s youth since many students may have been exposed to the spiritual children of Catcher long before they will read the book for school or elsewhere

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Lisa Westerfield on Nov 13 2011

Overall, I would recommend the book for anyone who wasn’t assigned to read it back in the day, if for no other reason than to have an informed opinion about it. As far as American classic novels go it is a short read and I finally understood the title and the classic cover of a merry-go-round horse.

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Pajiba

Below average
Reviewed by Sabrina on Apr 14 2009

I feel accomplished for having read it...and I mostly enjoyed reading it...I honestly believe I would've gotten much more out of Catcher if I had read it in a class and spent more time analyzing it as a piece of literature. Instead, I'm left underwhelmed and with some too-late insight into the boy who lent it to me.

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http://childrensbooks.about.com

Good
Reviewed by Elizabeth Kennedy on Jan 28 2014

While this book reads in halting streams of disjointed conversation and is full of mild expletives and sexual references, there is such a depth of reality and emotion to this character that still resonates with today’s teenager. I recommend this book for teens 14-up.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Brittany H., Jericho on Jan 28 2014

There are no words to describe my gratitude to J.D. Salinger. He created a deeply flawed character who represents the troubles of all adolescents. Though Holden does nothing but complain for most of the book, he is very insightful at times. This is the story of his short journey into the real world and his response toward overcoming it.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by ashtoamberflame on Jan 28 2014

A main reason this novel has survived, even after 60 years, without images is because Holden’s voice as a narrator still sounds authentic, due to the unique grammar usage and word choice – not plot.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Sophiadlt1 on Jan 28 2014

Holden in some ways does reflect on the true meaning of the poem, but in many more ways does he prove that his confusion with the lyrics of the poem do in fact distort his entire view on the poem. He does misinterpret the poem and therefore comes up with ideas about it that affect to his every day life.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by Missy M., Mason on Jan 28 2014

Throughout the course of this book Holden goes from a scared, immature man that believes he can protect all the children from real life to a man that understands changes are not always bad and he cannot protect people from the things that need to happen. He finally breaks out of his immature mind set and becomes a mature man.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by mikamoo2u2 on Jan 28 2014

I thoroughly enjoyed The Catcher in the Rye. It was very interesting and memorable, because it took me on an emotional roller coaster in the retelling of just a few days of the life of Holden Caulfield...Overall, The Catcher in the Rye was a fantastic novel that I would recommend to any teenager.

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Brothers Judd

Good
on Jan 28 2014

Catcher in the Rye, as everyone hopefully knows, is the story of one weekend in the life of Holden Caulfield...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.

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http://www.bookdrum.com

Good
Reviewed by Cheryl Donahue on Jan 28 2014

Holden’s fresh, witty voice is the number one reason to read The Catcher in Rye, nearly 60 years after its initial publication...Holden’s sharp, original take on adult convention and his mania for exposing phoniness wherever he finds it still resonate.

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http://www.bookdrum.com

Above average
Reviewed by cdonahue on Jan 28 2014

The Catcher in the Rye was both adored and reviled on initial publication...But as a witty satire on the conventions of adult life, and a portrait of a sensitive adolescent intelligence undone by grief, the book remains as relevant and beautiful as ever.

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Book Review Circle

Above average
Reviewed by Sayan Mukherjee on Jan 28 2014

It is pertinent for readers of all ages because everyone passes through that 'me against the world' phase at some point of time or the other. Subsequent readings bring to mind subtler aspects of the book that had hitherto slipped notice. It can be read again and again at any and every age above 13. All in all an excellent read.

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Of Books and Reading

Excellent
Reviewed by Hungry Reader on Oct 14 2013

To me the writing is just surreal, even after rereading it after fourteen years. It just manages to evoke the same sentiments in me and that is why I call it timeless. It talks about adolescence and its struggle like no other book. The Catcher in the Rye in that sense of the word is truly a classic and will be for years to come.

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Insatiable Book Sluts

Good
Reviewed by Meghan on Dec 05 2013

Catcher is a quick read and isn’t a difficult book to understand, story-wise, but it challenged me nonetheless. It’s a story in and of itself that you can enjoy purely on the surface, but there are levels underneath to comb through if you want...Great art, like great love, endures.

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Home Between Pages

Above average
Reviewed by Rachel on Oct 11 2010

I did enjoy it. I had problems with the consistency of the narrative and the plot, and whether Holden is a reliable narrator or not, but overall, I enjoyed it. I wasn’t deeply affected by it though, and for that I feel a bit guilty.

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My Library in the Making

Excellent
Reviewed by Kazhy on Oct 07 2012

...I ended up reading it for Banned Books Week! And it was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made, because The Catcher in the Rye is a classic without needing a complicated language or a complex plot...Overall, The Catcher in the Rye was very good, and totally unworthy of being a challenged book.

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Reviews and Ramblings

Above average
Reviewed by Adam on Feb 23 2014

The biggest selling point of the book for me was the character voice, and I don’t think that I would have appreciated a book with a strong character but a bare bones plot in high school. Either way, I’m glad that I read the book.

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75%

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Rated the book as 4.5 out of 5

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