September 30, 2022

Looking Back - The Catcher in the Rye

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

1951 Little, Brown and Company
Finished on June 15, 2001
Rating: 2/5 (Fair)

Publisher's Blurb:

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins, "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them." His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

My Original Thoughts (2001):

I didn't read this in high school or college [shocking, I know!], so I decided it was high time that I did. Thank goodness it's a fairly brief story--although, I thought it was terribly dull. Maybe I missed the underlying themes, but even a follow-up read of the Cliffs Notes left me wondering what all the hype is about. I did find a particular passage that I enjoyed, but otherwise, I can't recommend the book. Too much teenage angst!
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. (Holden Caulfield)

My Current Thoughts:

I don't understand why this is such a popular book. I wasn't impressed.


  1. I love your blog title. Coastal Horizons. We were supposed to vacation next week in St. Augustine, Fl but it is now under water thanks to Ian. I'll have to wait a bit to see the coastline and beaches .

    1. Thanks, Harvee! We used to live in Nebraska and my blog was named Prairie Horizons. When we moved to the coast, I made a minor modification. :) So sorry your vacation plans were interrupted by the hurricane. Stay safe!

  2. I am so with you on this one. I read it in high school, couldn't connect with it, and feel bad for all the high schoolers who have to read it.

    1. Helen, I think the only plus about reading it in high school is that (hopefully) the teacher would provide good analysis and topics for discussion.


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