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Catcher in the Rye...

(9 Posts)
LadyP Sun 09-May-04 17:54:38

...My thirst for knowledge is insatiable today (see movie reviews) .

Started this book about 3 months ago, was bored after the first page but decided to stick with it.

However, 3/4 of the way through, I'd had enough, decided I would rather read 'Starter for Ten' and abandoned Catcher.

However, it was bought for me for Xmas based on the fact that it always appears in the top 10 books list and EVERYONE I know who has read it says that it is absolutely brilliant, so what am I missing?

Is the best part in the last 1/4? Have I come to the book too late? Should I be 18-24 to 'get it'?

Have actually started reading Birdsong, but hoping someone will convince me to at least go back to Catcher afterwards.


roisin Sun 09-May-04 18:59:42

No, you've not missed anything! That's my opinion anyway. I had heard this is one of those books you have to read as a teenager to appreciate. I read it when I was 14 and didn't like it, and read it when I was 30 and it did nothing for me. It certainly doesn't improve as it goes on.

Definitely on my list of books I wish I'd never persevered with to the end, as they failed to redeem themselves!

Have you read Birdsong before? Now there's a fantastic book. Enjoy it and forget about Salinger.

expatkat Sun 09-May-04 23:44:40

I guess Catcher is *supposed* to appeal to adolescents more than adults, but I loved it as an adolescent *and* as an adult. Unlike Roisin, I would encourage you to perservere. The last fourth may or may not be the best part, but things start to come together in a moving way. . .you start to see how the series of disappointments and disillusionments affect the narrator, Holden Caulfield. You also learn why the book is called what it is, and you learn (or at least can infer) where he is when he's narrating this story. You & Roisin are entitled not to like it, though, and wouldn't be the first to dislike it (I know two very smart people who don't like it at all!). . ..but it seems to me it's such a short and quick read that you might as well finish it; it's not like getting through Moby Dick. There are other works of Salinger's which I think are better, though. I think the novellas _Franny & Zooey_ and _Raise High The Roof Beams, Carpenter_, as well as the collection _Nine Stories_ are his best. Catcher feels *slightly* overrated to me compared to the others & perhaps even more prone to feeling somehow dated (?) . I also wonder if there isn't some American thing about it that makes it less appealing to a British reader, and more specifically a New York thing, though I'd like to think it's completely universal. In any case, I hope I've convinced you not only to go back to Catcher in the Rye, but to read more of Salinger!

Tinker Mon 10-May-04 00:09:27

Oh, I *love* this book. Read it first when I was 18 or 19 (which is, perhaps *the* age to read it) and I kissed the book when I finished it. Was so disappointed I'd finished it in a way, enjoyed it so much. Read it again as an adult and I still loved it but don't know if I would have felt the same if that was the first time I'd read it - identified with HC at 18 and felt nostalgic for the book when I read it later.

Loved Birdsong as well

Cam Mon 10-May-04 14:17:47

Loved it - but read it when relatively young; in fact I went through a long American phase, loved Bukowski too (eg. Ham on Rye) and Roth and Bellow etc etc.

clary Mon 10-May-04 15:15:05

I read this at 17 as well and really hated it I recall, found it american and irritating. Then came back to it later and really liked it! Not sure how old I was. Still like it and agree with expat that it's really short and easy to read so worth finishing? But don't if you really hate it. I always used to force myself to finish books I didn't like and now wonder why. Now I want to read Catcher again...

rsv1000r Mon 10-May-04 18:05:58

I read this a couple of years ago - I suppose it is one of those books you think you ought to read - particularly with all the consiparcy theories about this book. I must say I couldn't see what all the fuss was about.

LadyP Tue 11-May-04 18:20:30

Thank you all for your replies.

Am really enjoying Birdsong so far so maybe after that, I shall return to Catcher with a newer eye.

Thanks again

Demented Tue 11-May-04 19:40:23

I read Catcher in the Rye as a teenager but haven't read it since. I do remember enjoying it but can't remember why. Not very helpful I know.

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