The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

This book is on International ray. I got it from taniazed, Australia, and will travel next to Wandering-B, Hong Kong. It had 8 journalers before me. I also read it for the discussion at

I got really annoyed at the beginning of how much the main character (a 16 years old kid) use damn, goddamn, and “… and all”. Not because they’re damn swear words. It’s just that he used it too goddamn much and all. You know the voice in your head when you read and all? I needed to change it to a certain damn pitch. A 16 years old with goddamn thick old American accent. Otherwise I would get goddamn annoyed as hell. After a while his “voice” stuck in my head though and I got through the novel more easily :)

I had no idea what the book was about when I first started, so I had no expectation whatsoever. Do you see the white cover there? That’s exactly how the book is. No blurb at the back cover or anything. I kept waiting for something to happen but nothing did. After a few chapters I just enjoyed the boy’s musings and observations of everything around him and things happened in his life. They’re brutally honest and often downright funny.

My favorite part is probably when Holden (that’s the main character’s name) told a story about his roommate that had a cheap suitcase. How he said people with uglier suitcase depressed the hell out of him.

“At first he only used to be kidding when he called my stuff bourgeois, and I didn’t give a damn- it was sort of funny, in fact. Then, after a while, you could tell he wasn’t kidding any more. The thing is, it’s really hard to be roommates with people if your suitcases are much better than theirs- if yours are really good ones and theirs aren’t. You think if they’re intelligent and all, the other person, and have a good sense of humor, that they don’t give a damn whose suitcases are better, but they do. They really do. It’s one of the reasons why I roomed with a stupid bastard like Stradlater. At least his suitcases were as good as mine.” ~ chapter 15 pg109

I can’t explain why I like this part. Maybe because he’s innocently honest. Things that we don’t want to admit as adults. It’s social strata, starting right there. It’s there and even if you pretend it’s not.

I also found it interesting that the whole book just covered about 2 days. It felt like a lot of time had passed for Holden. Or like how he’d say it, it’s like 50 million years had passed lol.

Ratings: 3.5 out of 5
As good as the book is, Holden’s experience is not something I can relate to. I wasn’t born in New York 1950s. I was born in one of the most dangerous countries in the world. If I had decided to run away from home as a teenager and roam around in streets and cheap hotel, somebody probably would’ve stolen my kidney and sold me to beggar pimp or something. Holden is a spoiled brat. The number of times he took cabs and referred to how he “felt like” or “didn’t feel like” to do stuff almost drove me crazy. But I guess any reader would agree that this main character is not exactly likeable :)

More Quotes

“The trouble with girls is, if they like a boy, no matter how big a bastard he is, they’ll say he has an inferiority complex, and if they don’t like him, no matter how nice a guy he is, or how big an inferiority complex he has, they’ll say he’s conceited. Even smart girls do it.” ~ Holden, pg136

“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.” ~ pg188

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13 thoughts on “The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger”

  1. I read this novel 6 years ago.
    I was disappointed because i had read “Franny & Zooey” and had enjoyed it very much.
    A coworker recommended that i read “The catcher in the rye”, and so i did. But i found it very teenage-ish… i mean: a book about a teenager, written to be read by teenagers.
    I don’t know… two days ago, in the bus, a passenger was reading “The catcher in the rye” and i thought “May be i’ll give it a second read”.
    But i still prefer “Franny & Zooey”

  2. I don’t think you’re being very fair, mee. Saying that any reader would agree that Holden isn’t likable is categorizing all the millions of people who’ve read, into one group of Holden Haters. I know plenty of people, myself included, that relish the book, and love Holden just as much as Franny or Zooey. In fact, when i finished reading the novel, i very much wished i could jump right into the book and give holden one great big bear hug. I love Holden, and this is by far one of my favorite books. Also, Holden is not spoiled, at all. He may of had a rich family, but Holden often expresses that he hates how people revolve around money, even if he doesn’t state it just so. ( you have to really study the novel, and you will find the book isn’t ‘just two days’, as it is full of meaning and emotion.) I’m not saying that you aren’t aloud to dislike the book, just don’t categorize all people in saying any reader would dislike Holden. It’s not fair,it’s not true, and it discourages people from reading what is a fantastic piece of literature.

  3. Woah, that’s an emotional comment :). You should read my review again, I never once said that I disliked the book. In fact, I gave it 3.5 out of 5, which is really pretty good for me (I’m not one who gives 5 stars all the time) Timeline wise, I believe the book covers 2 days of Holden’s, although of course there are many flashbacks. I mentioned that Holden was “funny, honest, and interesting”. I also said he’s “spoiled and not likable”. For me, they’re all true. That’s what makes the character interesting, because he’s not one dimensional. The book and character have many layers, which leaves many things to discuss and argue about.

  4. I agree, about the layers. I just mean that hes not unlikeable, to everyone. If you make it sound as if the book wasn’t worth reading because the main character isn’t likable, it’ll discourage people from reading it. It just says, “Any reader would agree…” and not every reader would. And sorry for saying you disliked it if it’s not true, thats just how the article sounded to me, like you didn’t enjoy reading it. My bad. With the 2 days, i just meant that summarizing two days sounds as if the book isn’t deep. I worded it wrong last time, and didn’t mean that the time line was wrong, cuz it is 2 days. Sorry bout’ that. I guess it’s just ‘any reader’ includes myself, and i love Holden. Thats all. :) sorry if i offended you or something…8(

  5. No offense =]. When I read the book, I talked about it in some discussion forum, and got the impression that most readers agreed that Holden wasn’t likable. But that’s a very broad meaning, and of course that doesn’t extend to everyone. There are many good books where the main characters are unlikable, so I don’t see how that comment would hinder anyone from reading it.

    Your opinion would vary greatly too depending on what point in your life you read any book. Review is just something very personal. It’s impossible to be objective most of the time. I wrote it based on my personal opinions. So of course there would be hints of likes and dislikes on certain parts of the book. I guess the negative impression that I might have given came from the fact that I expected the book to be 4 stars before I read it and it ended up 3.5 stars for me. But hey, that’s still pretty good in my library ;)

  6. If you don’t think holden is likeable, then you really didnt get this book. Holden through out the novel show sympathy, compasion,aand much care for others, more than most average people do. And he doesn’t like the cheap bags because they make him feel depressed with guilt, since he owns nice ones, and others cant afford them
    I mean you’re what holden would call not very good converationalist, a typical goddam moron.

  7. Did you even read what I wrote? I did say that the suitcases was my favorite part. And what the hell is converationalist? Are you just a sad sad teenager taking joy in annoying random people? Moron.

  8. This is one of my all-time favorites. There’s a linky to this review from your Japanese reading challenge post.

    Personally, I love Holden. Yeah, I know he’s a bit of a hypocrite, and he’s self-obsessed, and quite narcissistic. However, the last few chapters of the book, specially the bit where he and Phoebe are talking, and the title of the book is explained – that just made me literally fall in love with him!

    In fact, if I had to have a date with a fictional character, Holden would be in my top three. :)

  9. Looking back, I admit he has some adorable qualities! I guess at that time of reading I just wasn’t sure if I could really relate with him and his experiences. I’m wondering if it’s a book that you should read when you’re a teenager. (Did you?)

  10. I totally agree about the voice needing some getting used to and then growing on me (I kept wanting to throw “goddam”s into my post, but that would not have been me at all, since I never say those words in real life, lol!). I also totally agree about Holden being a spoiled brat. And I didn’t grow up a dangerous country. I kind of wanted something dumb to happen to him this time around just because he’s asking for trouble by running away and wandering New York like that! Although, at the end he’s redeemed so I’d hate for something bad to happen to him.
    .-= [Rebecca Reid´s last blog: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger] =-.

    1. I never say ‘goddamn’ in real life too lol. I was sprinkling the word on purpose just to show how ‘annoying’ it was :P. I liked the ending too. It definitely makes his character more likable!

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