The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951)
What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.
One-sentence summary: Holden Caulfield, the poster child for teenage angst and alienation, wanders New York City for a few days after being expelled from prep school.
When read: high school
Why read: Who didn’t read this novel in high school?
Impressions: I know I read this and that it influenced me, but to tell you the truth, the experience of reading it is not that memorable to me. Certainly, Holden Caulfield is an iconic character, and this is an enduring classic, but it is probably best read when one is an angst-ridden teen. I am glad to have read this, but I am not anxious to become re-acquainted with Holden.
Current status: My husband a copy of this (the paperback with the white cover). I keep contemplating a reread but never get around to it.
- Between 1961 and 1982, The Catcher in the Rye was the most censored book in high schools and libraries in the United States. If you really want kids to read something, then ban it.
- Mark Chapman, the murderer of John Lennon, was carrying a copy of the novel when he was arrested in which he had written, “This is my statement.” He also read a passage from the novel during his sentencing.
- The main character in the film Conspiracy Theory is programmed to buy the novel whenever he sees it, in a reference to its connection with the Lennon murder and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan.
- The title is a reference to the Robert Burns poem, “Coming Thro’ the Rye.” Holden misinterprets a part of this poem to mean, “if a body catch a body,” rather than, “if a body meet a body.”
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