Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Catcher in the Rye- J.D. Salinger

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1951
Length:  214 pages
ISBN:  0553149660
Genre:  Classics

Start Date:  Sometime in 2007-8
Finished Date:  Sometime in 2007-8

Where Found:  Used bookstore
Why Read:  It is on most "must-read" lists and I have always been curious about it.

Summary:  A rebellious, expelled student spends 3 days in the city, evaluating the wrongdoings of his education and society in general through a random, stream-of-consciousness style.


If you haven’t read this book, you’re probably wondering what all the hype is about. If you have read it, you may have concluded that it was one of the greatest books ever written or you just can’t understand its place in the literary canon of greatest books ever. Sounds like a case of polar opposite views on one of the most considered books ever written. My take on The Catcher in the Rye is that it’s a very good book but as for its place as one of the greatest books ever written is difficult to determine.

One reason is that it’s very hard to recall the plot of this book and that is one of its primary flaws. It doesn’t really have one. The book’s main strength is its language, both the bitterness of Holden’s voice and the rare, small beauties he finds in his idle trek to find a deeper perspective than his education has allowed. Holden’s relationship with his sister Phoebe is beautifully rendered—you sympathize with his protectiveness of her and his determination to give her a better outlook on life than he has for himself.

Holden is relentlessly moody, stumbling through life because he finds very little purpose in it. He admires Phoebe because she is still very young and still has time to spare before the burdens of responsibility Holden feels are placed on her shoulders as well. He admires a teacher whose intentions may not be entirely honourable. Trust is a central theme in the novel that may ring familiar from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and recognizable in the film Good Will Hunting—the main characters have little sense of self, an unwillingness to accept change, and difficulty forming relationships with others. It’s a timeless, never-ending motif that resolves itself only through maturation of its characters. Does that happen with Holden? It remains a debatable topic, but in my opinion, is inconclusive.

If this sounds confusing, the best advice I can offer is read it and see for yourself. It is certainly worth reading though for a book long held up on a pedestal, it is not without its flaws.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, highly recommend


  1. I haven't read this myself but my boyfriend has and for him, Holden was simply whiny and irritating. One day I will read it for myself to find out if I agree or not!

  2. Read this book in High School (many years ago). I remember my mom not letting me read it in Junior High because it wasn't appropriate -- so of course I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. It left pretty much no impression on me. If you had asked me what it was about I could recall the character's name was Holden Caulfield. (sp?) I read it again last summer. I would call it interesting character development, well written, but like you said there really isn't a plot. I'm not sure why it gets such raves as a "classic" but then, that's not my thing. Thanks for the review. It was interesting.

  3. I'm glad I read this one when I was younger. I don't think I would have the same connection or patience with Holden now.

  4. I appreciate your thoughts here, and I'm happy that you found Catcher worthwhile. Thanks for pointing me here...