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Dream Catcher: A Memoir [Hardcover]

Margaret Ann. Salinger
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
MAMA SAID THAT WHEN SHE WAS A LITTLE GIRL, before her house in London was bombed, she would often creep out of her bed at night and open the door between her nursery and the top of the back staircase that led down to the kitchen. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
J. D. Salinger's daughter has written an in-depth psychological biography of her famous (or infamous) father. Margaret (then called "Peggy") drills the Iron Curtain surrounding her reclusive father and her life in his shadow.
Margaret has a gift for finding joy in many things; her account of her kindergarten class is singularly moving and one feels that the "circle" she lovingly described during this activity was a symbol of the "circles" she would later move in -- as daugher of a famous author, as a literati in her own "write," as her own identity. She manages to wring joy out of her horrendous boarding school years; she manages to infuse her readers with her naturally hopeful outlook.
J. D. Salinger's "signature" book, "The Catcher in the Rye" is an adult version of Peter Pan; Salinger's infamous protagonist Holden Caulfield is a self-admitted adultophobe who refuses to take responsibility for his actions or identify with adult persons. I didn't like Caulfield as a child and I certainly have not been able to like that character as an adult, either. In reading it in adulthood, one cannot help but wonder how much of Holden is really J. D. Salinger. Margaret provides some very interesting insights.
Salinger's treatment of author Joyce Maynard when the later was 18 was disgusting. He tried to control Maynard's life and it sounded as if he was generally taking advantage of her. In reading of this part of his life, one again sees glimpses of Caulfield. Salinger sought the company of a woman young enough to be his daughter and his treatment of her was singularly disgraceful.
This book is truly an eye-opener. It is a well researched biography and well worth the read.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Blah...blah...blah... June 23 2004
By ebaymom
Format:Paperback
If you are looking for information about the infamous JD Salinger- don't read this book. You'll be disappointed and disillusioned, as I was after finishing. If you would like to read about his daughter's privileged, yet routinely screwed up life, then read on; because that is all you'll find in here. While there are occassional insights into Salinger's (the MAN) life and motivations, most of what Peggy writes about is a critique and ctiticism of his choices and lifestyle. A classic example of blaming your parents for your own f-'d up life, if you ask me.
I feel sorry for JD that he may have read this during his life and realized what an unhappy and unloving daughter he really had.
The bitter irony exists that she would have never sold this book if it wasn't for her father, (who wants to know about Peggy Salinger's life?) and yet she tears him down page after page.
I would probably buy a book written by his son, Matthew, just to see if his recollections are similiar or if Peggy stands alone.
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1.0 out of 5 stars who's this book about? June 4 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I love J.D. Salinger. I have read all his novels and even the stuff like "A Slight Rebellion off Madison," stuff that's hard to find or out of print. This biography is boring! I don't give a damn about Peggy Salinger. Who does? She over writes, wastes time, fails to reveal her fathers motivations, and whines a lot. I was very disappointed. You critics need to be a bit stiffer on your reviews out there. I wanted to know about his writing- the process, the inspiration, the reasons, the reasons for becoming a recluse and ceasing to publish. I didn't get any of that here. I found out that his daughter had some bad holiday experiences and that her mother was scared of J.D., but, again, who cares? I want to know about the writing: the glass family, the struggle, the stange humor, etc. Here's a comparison, or analogy, whatever, Does anyone care what Lisa Marie Presley planted in her garden when she was young? Probably not. They want to know about Elvis and his endeavors: his fate, music, destruction, tendencies, affairs, drug abuse, etc. Get the point?
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating mess Dec 30 2001
Format:Paperback
The real proof of this book's quality is that it would still be an absorbing and uncommonly well-written memoir of a seriously screwed-up childhood even if no one had ever heard of J.D. Salinger. Of course, it would never have been published either, so let's get down to brass tacks. As an "expose" of The Creep Behind The Artist, the prosecution is scattershot (there's a wearisomely prolonged and ultimately unconvincing effort to define him as an actual cult leader of sorts) but eventually sways the jury. And unlike the unsympathetic Joyce Maynard, who managed to cash in with her story first, Margaret Salinger seems to me fully entitled to whatever degree of payback this book represents. (It's not a hatchet job but she's not afraid to let hard-earned bitterness show at times.) When, as a teenager, she finally begins to see his toxicity as a parent and writes in her diary, ...it's a real stand-up-and-cheer moment.
However, it must be acknowledged that the book is in desperate need of strong editing. The indiscriminate inclusiveness (i.e. the complete text of notes passed in junior high school) and irritatingly pointless footnotes (i.e. explaining where the chapter heading "To Sir With Love" comes from) are unfortunate deterrents to appreciating this book on its considerable merits.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Memoir, not history Dec 18 2001
By CR
Format:Paperback
This is a beautifully written memoir, but could have used some trimming and a little fact checking. One glaring error I noticed at the beginning of the book was the author's description of her mother's flight as a child evacuee from wartime London on the ship the Scythia. "One bit of contact, which Claire clung to like a life preserver, was to stand on the deck each day and wave to the children on the deck of their sister ship. Several days out of Southampton, as Claire was exchanging waves, a German torpedo ripped into the side of the Benares (City of Benares). It exploded into flames. Claire watched in mute horror as it sank, children screaming and dancing as they burned." Horrific and poignant imagery, but the Benares was sunk at 10 PM at night during extremely rough and stormy conditions. I cannot believe that the nine year old Claire was on the deck waving to the other children and was witness to this. Memoirs are terribly subjective, and perhaps Peggy Salinger was going on the word of her mother, but this obvious error cast a pall of doubt over the rest of the book.
I do think this is a worthwhile read, and an overall fascinating and suprisingly unbitter account of growing up with a brilliant but very difficult and damaging parents.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Salinger more like Ackley Kid than Holden??
If you really like J.D. Salinger, please don't read this book. It's just depressing. Frankly I don't doubt the truth of it, but do I really want to know what a nasty self centered... Read more
Published on Sept. 5 2004 by Harris Macklin
5.0 out of 5 stars Really brings out the Hinkley in all of us.
Most people prefer fiction in there non-fiction.
That the emperor has no clothes is not very interesting when you've pledged your loyalty to an adolescent panderer. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Never Caught On
This book, if you really want to know, is not very good. First off, those clips of music from rock groups heading each chapter. Strictly for the birds. Read more
Published on June 7 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars She shouldn't have published this
This book reads like something a person would write in anger, then destroy. Too bad it got published. I can't imagine betraying my own father like this. Read more
Published on April 13 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Almost as good as Hapworth
Robin Williams used to tell a joke about his son, saying that whenever he got angry with him his son would say 'you hit me and I'll write a book. Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2003 by David Mclain
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this woman.
I adore her, I wish to grow old with her.
She can lose her father, mother, and brother but she will always have me. Read her book, you may fall in love too.
Published on Dec 14 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Compelling
A compelling and beautifully written story of a life. It is so full and rich and satisfying. I loved this memoir. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2002 by Judith Tatelbaum
2.0 out of 5 stars Someone please force this woman to get some perspective
I think its very relevant that this memoir is almost as long as her fathers complete published works. I read this book from the perspective of a man fascinated by J. Read more
Published on Oct. 18 2002 by Mr S Groom
2.0 out of 5 stars Someone please force this woman to get some perspective
I think its very relevant that this memoir is almost as long as her fathers complete published works. I read this book from the perspective of a man fascinated by J. Read more
Published on Oct. 18 2002 by Mr S Groom
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