The Catcher in the Rye

Front Cover
Little, Brown, May 1, 1991 - Fiction - 240 pages
3111 Reviews
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 fully 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.

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User Review  - dasam - LibraryThing

Perhaps I missed too much having not read this when I was 16 or so. I certainly can still recall the sense I had then that I was from another planet and terribly unlike everyone else in the world ... Read full review

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User Review  - VClarke - LibraryThing

Holden Caulfield is one of literatures most unique characters. I loved reading this book in high school and still love it now. Salinger's use of the teenager voice still resonates with young adults ... Read full review

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The Constructivist Leader

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About the author (1991)

J. D. Salinger was born in New York City on January 1, 1919. He attended Manhattan public schools, Valley Forge Military Academy in Pennsylvania, and three colleges, but received no degrees. He was from an upper class Jewish family and they lived on the upper west side of Manhattan on Park Avenue. Salinger joined the U. S. Army in 1942 and fought in the D-Day invasion at Normandy as well as the Battle of the Bulge, but suffered a nervous breakdown due to all he had seen and experienced in the war and checked himself into an Army hospital in Germany in 1945. In December 1945, his short story I'm Crazy was published in Collier's. In 1947, his short story A Perfect Day for Bananafish was published in The New Yorker. Throughout his lifetime, he wrote more than 30 short stories and a handful of novellas, which were published in magazines and later collected in works such as Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. The Catcher in the Rye, published in 1951, was his only novel. His last published story, Hapworth 16, 1924, appeared in 1965. He spent the remainder of his years in seclusion and silence in a home in Cornish, New Hampshire. He died of natural causes on January 27, 2010 at the age of 91. Salinger always wanted to write the great American novel; when he succeeded in this with Catcher in the Rye, he was unprepared for the onslaught on privacy issues that this popularity brought on. He never wanted to be in the spotlight and retreated from all contacts he had in New York City.

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