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Insightful,
Gloomy,
Brilliant

12 reviews

The Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger

Published: 1991-05-01
Mass Market Paperback : 240 pages
28 members reading this now
87 clubs reading this now
28 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 9 of 12 members
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 ...
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Introduction

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.

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

How is this novel like/different from other coming-of-age novels?
How does the novel relate to current society? Is the novel still relevant?
by KJmellen (see profile) 11/30/16

Compare the Burns poem to the Salenger book
by lizblair (see profile) 01/06/11

Explain how you see Holden's character and what is his motivation for being the young man he has become?
by maureen54 (see profile) 12/01/10

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Member Reviews

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by KarenC (see profile) 05/18/19

 
by LizP46 (see profile) 05/02/17

 
  "The Catcher in the Rye"by KJmellen (see profile) 11/30/16

The book is character driven and takes you into the mind and thoughts of a teenager having difficulty figuring out where he fits in. It is set in 1948 New York but is timeless in the theme and can lead... (read more)

 
by gymbackmom (see profile) 10/18/14

 
  "Catcher in the Rye is a classic"by jfwalters (see profile) 01/29/14

I haven't read this book since high school, but really enjoyed reading it again. Great story and pretty much timeless.

 
  "The Catcher in the Rye"by kiwiob (see profile) 12/30/13

Although this book is fairly depressing to read, it is still filled with insight and at times is laugh out loud funny. The characters are very well drawn and interesting, and it is impossible not to find... (read more)

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