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27 March 2009 @ 12:01 am
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger

So I can pretty much sum up thusly:


Point the first: I can see why people mightn't like this much if it were their first Salinger, but I've read everything else that seems to be available and loved it, so I can forgive Holden for not being as engaging as any of the Glasses.

Point the second: long ago, when my only reading matter consisted mainly of Maeve Binchy, Terry Pratchett and any book with a pink cover, dirtylaugh compared me to Holden. At the time I thought this book was about the Dustbowl in the Depression (THE GRAPES OF WRATH MIGHT HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN A FIELD OF RYE, OKAY) so I wasn't hugely impressed. Now, I would be delighted if anyone else said I was like Holden. Alas, I fear it's far from true.

Point the third: first page - Pencey Prep - FRANKIE.

Women kill me. [...] I just like them, I mean. They're always leaving their goddam bags out in the middle of the aisle.


The part when Jane starts crying and Holden kisses her everywhere, but she won't let him kiss her mouth - that has HAUNTED me ever since. I hope he found her afterwards, or something.

Like, I don't really get this book. disarm_d said it was a 'coming of age' book, and I'm like what? Coming of age means you fail out of school and sneak home and stay in hotels with hookers you fail to have sex with and phone up randomers to go on dates with and take your kid sister to the park? What? I never did any of that! Granted, I don't have a little sister, but still. I guess it just proves that you don't have to understand something to like it.

Also, he excels far more at the short story than at the novel. If these encounters were a set of short stories about different people, it would have worked far better.

I read this a week ago; I'm so lazy about writing these up lately.

Previously, on Book Glomp 2009:
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope
The Bostonians, Henry James
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
For Esme - with Love and Squalor, JD Salinger
The Outsider, Albert Camus
The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten, Meg Cabot
The Vicar of Bullhampton, Anthony Trollope
Molesworth, Geoffrey Willans
Villette, Charlotte Bronte
The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler
Cecilia, Fanny Burney
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: heart // stars
Blindmouse: Alice readingblindmouse on March 27th, 2009 01:38 am (UTC)
So I haven't read any other Salingers (I don't know why! It's one of those things I'm excited about whenever I think of doing it, but somehow never translates to actual action), but seriously, people don't like this? There are people with pulses who don't like this book?

I think somebody made an LJ community once dedicated to giving Holden Caulfield hugs. That's pretty much how I feel about him, and this book. I don't get it either, I'm not even sure where he is at the end (a hospital?), but ... well, it does feel like a coming of age story, but one without a resolution. We've seen everything that's changed him, the progress of the break point in his life, we've seen all the bits that make up Holden and are making him up - but we don't see what he does with them. We don't see the way he actually walks away from this, or what he's going to do with all these overwhelming things. And I kind of don't mind. Just because it's Catcher in the Rye and it's Holden Caulfield.

(Wait, no, I do remember having a conversation with a friend who didn't like this, now that I think about it. I tried to explain why I loved it, and she looked at me and finally said "... do you like Bob Dylan too?")
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Cupcakes: with a candlescoradh on March 31st, 2009 12:22 pm (UTC)
I can't actually say if I like Bob Dylan, as I have never listened to his music, but I probably wouldn't. Simply because I'm bolshy like that. Not that this has any bearing on your point, but anyway.

I think Jane should be the one to give him hugs. Or they could mutually give one another hugs. (OMG, wouldn't that be an awesome fanfic?! Jane/Holden/hugs?! Please stop me...)
Blindmouseblindmouse on March 31st, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
I would read Jon/Holden/hugs forever :-)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: scarfscoradh on March 31st, 2009 09:12 pm (UTC)
I think that would be twenty kinds of illegal, but YES.
Blindmouseblindmouse on March 31st, 2009 09:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, lol. Typo of win.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on March 31st, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)
You have jwalkianism of the brain. It's okay - terminal, but not fatal. ;D
sleepingfingers on March 27th, 2009 04:22 am (UTC)
I read Catcher in the Rye a few years back for a high school English class, and while I didn't love the book, I didn't hate it either. I almost couldn't stand Holden in places while wanting to hug him in others. I didn't really understand what the entire book was about, but there were a lot of cool lines I liked in it, though. *needs to re-read*
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Fashion: angry girl leaningscoradh on March 31st, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC)
I didn't really understand what the entire book was about, but there were a lot of cool lines I liked in it, though.

That pretty much sums up my attitude to it! Although, if I'd had to read it for English, I probably would have hated it passionately. Just because.
the claw-foot Lady: [questionable] he'll tell hissoftlyforgotten on March 27th, 2009 05:15 am (UTC)
Holden Caulfield was the first boy I ever fell in love with (properly, I'm not counting Dick from The Famous Five). I was eleven, and my mum had given it to me and I came out once I was done and said, "This book is pointless," but I loved it all the same. Now I don't think it's pointless at all and oh man, that bit with the kisses, yessss. That has always been one of my favourite parts. ♥

ANYWAY, I can't think of anything particularly coherent to say except &SALINGER; with you. <333
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Cupcakes: white with sprinklesscoradh on March 31st, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC)
That has always been one of my favourite parts

We have such good taste, lol. :D

Because of you, I've started reading QC. Started, I say, but I'm up to 235. I still don't know if I like it or not, though...
Merit: BBrendonmeritjubet on March 27th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC)
Fiction can make life seem terribly mundane. The first time I heard about Catcher in the Rye was when I was reading up on censorship in libraries and how there was sex! booze! and I was wondering if set in the fields or something. Seemed uncomfortable if it was. Upon reading the book, I was already well acquainted with the internet so it didn't seem so outrageous but I guess it is/was. Though I'm pretty sure most coming of ages don't involve hookers and hook ups in quite the fashion of Holden's.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Blue haired boy w/ phonescoradh on March 31st, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
It's like Valley of the Dolls and Lady Chatterly's Lover, I guess. Things that were sensational when they came out tend to lose the shine after a few years. But I wasn't reading CitR for the sensationalism, so I didn't feel short-changed!
trichinopoly ash: rorschach: asdfkjaldehyde on March 27th, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
i love catcher in the rye so much it kind of hurts. actually i liked all of salinger's works. catcher in the rye had a huge impact on me when i first read it since i was 15 and all "oh angst, woe is me". my english teacher recommended it b/c she thought i'd like it, and then persuaded me to write my final project on the book and "rule of the bone" which has the same themes.

good woman, that teacher of mine :D
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Kitties: self cleaning catsscoradh on March 31st, 2009 12:31 pm (UTC)
I wish my teacher had thought to recommend it to me! Or recommend anything, actually. I floated through school reading and learning nothing of value. *sigh*
JRevalangui on March 31st, 2009 12:59 am (UTC)
Mmm... I remember liking this one when I read it like 6 years ago or something but when I picked it up in English it was like... what did I like about this? I read a few pages and couldn't get into it. I keep wanting to give it another shot though, because I remember the clarity and peace he feels when he finally decides what he wants it's to be the catcher in rye, and, sure, it's not very realistic but that's how I wanted to feel back then (and now, actually), like I had found the place where I clicked.

Anyway, may I suggest that you add a star or something to the books in the bookglomp you actually like? I mean, when you copy and paste the list in the future, maybe? It would be cool for me because I could find the ones you're reccing (although I like to read the ones you're trashing that's not conductive to me reading books and not more fic) and it would be cool for your because you would see how critical you are or...something...?
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Fooish: pink bottlesscoradh on March 31st, 2009 12:32 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately for me, the actual catcher in the rye scene carried shades of paedophilia. Hopefully Holden learned some grown-up ambitions in the interim.

That's a good idea! From now on I will make some kind of marker between books I liked and books I didn't. I was hesitant to put a grading scale on it, but I didn't even consider just differentiating them that way. :D
JRevalangui on April 1st, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
Mmmm... really? I guess I didn't think of that back then at 14 and I just remember it so purely. There's nothing pure anymore now, though, so I get why you could see that.

Cool. Because you're accumulating quite a few and when I come back to check them out... It's really hard to grade books because you don't really have other books that try to do the same thing to compare them to (unless you read Harlequins, i guess, and even then...), and even fanfic gets hard to grade sometimes because you might not have been in the right mood for it, etc. :)

Something else I always mean to ask you (and sorry if I actually have) is if you know danaewhispers, someone you have a few icons from (including the one with the faces with the stars you use quite often?), because the username doesn't seem to exist and googling her name nothing comes up either. Was she just a random artist you picked up some icons from or do you have any idea where to find her? Also, the "this princess saves herself" icon? ROCKS.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: scarfscoradh on April 1st, 2009 10:20 pm (UTC)
That's because it's actually danaewhispering! Whoops!
JRevalangui on April 2nd, 2009 01:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, cool, good to know, gonna go check her out. Thanks!