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Catcher in the Rye : Appropriate for 12 year old ?

(35 Posts)
HughHonour Thu 07-May-15 17:12:36

Having a BIG difference with x-partner over the book I gave my son that I enjoyed at around his age .
She says he is not emotionally ready for the book . He is an intelligent and very advanced reader having just completed the Lord of the Rings.

What are your views?

SirChenjin Thu 07-May-15 17:17:43

Yes, I think it's appropriate. There may be themes that wash over him somewhat at that age, but for an intelligent 12 year old it will be fine imo.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Thu 07-May-15 19:51:31

But young imo, I think he'd get more out of it in a couple of years time.

FirstOfficerDouglasRichardson Thu 07-May-15 19:59:57

I read it at about 12. I hated it. I reread in my 20s. I still hated it.
I would let my 12 year old read it with no concerns whatsoever.

BikeRunSki Thu 07-May-15 20:02:56

I'd leave it a couple of years.

Northernparent68 Thu 07-May-15 23:16:47

It's a very boring book, I can't imagine any one getting anything out of it

AlpacaMyBags Thu 07-May-15 23:32:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

glittertits Sat 09-May-15 09:44:28

I hate the idea that teenagers are too young to read books sad

Absolutely let her. Let her make up her own mind.

SirChenjin Sat 09-May-15 10:17:24

I agree glitter

HughHonour Sun 10-May-15 05:44:40

Thanks you all

mathanxiety Sun 10-May-15 05:58:15

An intelligent and advanced reader could technically read it at 12, but it would go right over his head psychologically and emotionally.

What is the point of merely decoding it?

I read it at around that age, loved it... One to reread later though as he is unlikely to be mature enough to fully "get" everything no matter how intelligent.

Disagree with glitter somewhat though on the general principle there are no books tweens/ young teens are too young for - there are some very disturbing books out there, and if a reader has an ounce of imagination a book can be far more disturbing than a film because you "live" a book over several days, with it playing out in the back of your head while you're going about your daily business half way through the book - a film is one hit and somebody else has done the imagining for you, so the effect is more superficial.

Anyone who let their 12 year old readthe whole game of thrones series, for eexample, would be setting that child up for a very disturbing experience which would stay with them long term; unless the child didn't understand a word they read, or was utterly desensitised or devoid of imagination and empathy..

Catcher in The Rye is appropriate, just might not be fully understood.

maths I agree a lit if children who are "advanced" readers are given stuff which they merely obligingly decode, reading the words but not really getting the underlying ideas, simply in order to please their parents...

A 12 year old should really be choosing their own books - that's how most adults who did read Catcher in the Rye at 12 will have come to do so - picked it up off a shelf, not been given it to read. (I read all sorts of unsuitable "classics" at that age because my parents had them on the shelves in huge heavy anthologies with uncut pages in order to feel cultured while they read Dorothy L Sayers grin )

mathanxiety Sun 10-May-15 06:30:06

I agree with you, MrTumbles, that choosing your own books is a better way to approach reading. If a parent likes books and wants to encourage reading then buy the books but put them in your bookshelves or leave them lying around instead of presenting them to teens or tweens with the attendant pressure that may be felt to oblige by reading them.

I also read all sorts of 'unsuitable classics' that were lying around. There were also many that I started but gave up on because they were incomprehensible to me and I knew I was out of my depth, even though I decoded them perfectly well. There were some books I put back on the shelf at 12 or 13 only to find them most rewarding when I had another go at them a few years later.

I also agree that there are some books that are unsuitable both for reasons of graphic violence or cruelty, and because of generally unhealthy themes (the Twilight series for instance, and many trashy teen romance novels that reinforce stereotypes of gender roles and present unhealthy relationship models).

shadypines Mon 11-May-15 16:37:54

Ok the character is emotionally disturbed but so what? I don't see why a 12 yr old couldn't read it, I'm just not sure how much they'd understand it though.I have just given it to my 13yr old DD although she hasn't started it yet.
I read it around age 14 yr I think and I absolutely loved it and can still remember lots of phrases " Sleep tight ya morons!"

mathanxiety Mon 11-May-15 16:51:19

Reading through from page one to page whatever isn't all there is to it though. What can a 12 year old understand of emotional disturbance or the nuances of the relationships in the book?

A 12 year old is better off reading material that resonates with him or her.

drwitch Mon 11-May-15 17:17:40

I remember reading the first line at 12 and bam - I fell in love. Nursed a chronic crush on Holden til I was at least 25! Not sure a 12 year boy would get it though

timeforabrewnow Tue 12-May-15 09:28:15

No - I've read it recently and no - not appropriate for a 12 year old as the themes are very adult.

drwitch Tue 12-May-15 09:50:08

not sure the themes are adult, its about growing up in a world that is less than perfect and learning to deal with the phonies.
My generation would probably read it after storming upstairs. "Mum, can't you let me just be me!", smoking a B&H out of the window while listening to the smiths (probably Kill the DJ!)

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 12-May-15 10:18:32

Long time since I've read it but doesn't he visit a prostitute?

ProbablyJustGas Tue 12-May-15 13:12:28

I don't see the harm in it. smile If he's a bright young man, but the themes aren't his cup of tea, he would likely put the book down and abandon it, like the rest of us would, wouldn't he?

Plus, it's fiction. I think a lot of readers take a different approach to heavy themes in fiction, knowing that the story is made up. A non-fiction memoir or manifesto, completely different. But Catcher in the Rye isn't that.

I am considering The Perks of Being a Wallflower for my niece's 13 year-old birthday. More tortured souls and heavy themes, but she asked for "The Fault in Our Stars" for Christmas, back when her stepdad was dying of cancer, and all of her friends had seen the movie because of the cute boy. She wanted to process those feelings. And ogle the cute boy.

Good books are ace at this age. Being able to have someone to relate to in fiction is really valuable. It's been many years since I read Catcher, but I seem to remember relating to feeling outside of everything like Holden did.

DuncanQuagmire Tue 12-May-15 13:15:01

anyway Catcher in the Rye is dire.
Rich kid runs away from school spends parents money goes home. whoopee.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 12-May-15 13:15:44

Not too advanced or disturbing, but I think he'll get more out of it in a few years time. I ruined it for myself at 11, came back to it at 15 and saw the point - same for a few people, including my dds.

I don't think 'the themes are very adult' - there's a prostitute, but the whole point is that he's not interested.

DuncanQuagmire Tue 12-May-15 13:16:51

yes I agree the themes are far from adult.
It is just a bit dull really, vastly over rated.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 12-May-15 13:18:41

Well, I found all the 'phonies' and 'crummies' irritating when I was 11... but later I thought, and still think, it's absolutely brilliant.

I also didn't realise how funny it is when I was too young - I love lines like 'wearing some old dressing gown he was probably born in or something', but I realise that's a bit niche!

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