Writing Can Be Murder

July 26, 2010

Catcher in the Rye — Why?

Filed under: Uncategorized — love2wryte @ 5:50 pm

The other day I was talking to a 15-yr-old who mentioned that she was reading Catcher in the Rye as schoolwork. (Note — have you ever met anyone who went to public school in the US in the past 30 or 40 years who wasn’t made to read it?)

This poor kid hates the book.

So did I when I had to read it at about the same age. I hated it enough that I’ve never bothered to try it again. I hated it for the same reasons this girl does: “Holden Caufield is a rich kid who whines. I just want to slap him.”

By the time I was assigned the task of reading Catcher, I’d already read (on my own) coming-of-age books that I’d loved — Huckleberry Finn in particular comes to mind. And I kept hoping the boys from The Outsiders would show up and kick Caufield’s “phony” ass.

And yet, Catcher in the Rye endures as a “classic”.

So where do you stand on Salinger’s assigned reading? Yay or nay?



  1. Hate to admit it in public, but I can barely remember any of it. I can remember feeling strange as I read it; I did not understand or like his world at all. I think there was a caurosel in it? Maybe? I may not even remember that right. I guess it didn’t make a big impression on me.

    Comment by Cyndi — July 26, 2010 @ 6:31 pm | Reply

  2. Oh, forgot to say that I do own an old copy of it. I bought it in hopes of reading or rereading some of the classics. I have not yet read it again. However, my husband did pick it up and read it. He remembered it and had liked it and liked it yet again. Maybe it can also be a gender thing? My husband has little patience for whining so it’s making me wonder. You’re making me have to go read it again now. 🙂

    Comment by Cyndi — July 26, 2010 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  3. I hated it. HATED it. He was totally whiny and without reason.

    I remember taking my copy of the book, slapping it on my teacher’s desk, and telling her it was the worst book ever. Then I laid out all the reasons I was refusing to write the essay she wanted. I also still remember the startled look on her face and the flustered way she told me I could write an essay on another subject if I wanted. LOL.

    Comment by Kate Perry — July 26, 2010 @ 9:13 pm | Reply

  4. OMG! I just finished posting my take on this over at my blog:


    You know what they say about great minds!

    Comment by Jennifer Colgan — July 27, 2010 @ 1:53 am | Reply

  5. It’s been a long time since I read it, but I remember thinking, “What’s the point of this story?” I didn’t get it. I don’t remember hating it, but I don’t remember liking it, either. It was just meh for me. That book and LORD OF THE FLIES were assigned reading in tenth grade, and I loved LORD OF THE FLIES!

    Comment by Jenny — July 27, 2010 @ 1:54 am | Reply

  6. Cyndi — If you do read it again, I’d be interested in whether it makes an impression this time around.

    Kate — I can just imagine you slamming it down. “Worst Book Ever!”

    Jennifer — Great post!

    Jenny — Lord of the Flies was good. Maybe it should be added to the list of best thrillers? 😉

    Comment by love2wryte — July 27, 2010 @ 3:39 am | Reply

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