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The Catcher in the Rye [Hardcover]

J.D. Salinger
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,340 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 29.00
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School & Library Binding CDN $13.36  
Hardcover, July 16 1951 CDN $18.18  
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Book Description

July 16 1951
Anyone who has read J. D. Salinger's New Yorker stories - particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme - With Love and Squalor, will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is full of children. The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

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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.

About the Author

J D Salinger was born in 1919. He grew up in New York City, and wrote short stories from an early age, but his breakthrough came in 1948 with the publication in The New Yorker of 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish'. The Catcher in the Rye was his first and only novel, published in 1951. It remains one of the most translated, taught and reprinted texts, and has sold some 65 million copies. It was followed by three other books of short stories and novellas, the most recent of which was published in 1963. He lives in Cornish, New Hampshire. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
"The Catcher in the Rye" made me feel less lonely at a time (15 years of age) when all I touched, as Salinger put it in one of his legendary nine short stories, seemed to turn to complete loneliness. It's the reason I started writing.

THE INFATUATION
For the longest time I tried to keep my obsession with Salinger's only full-length novel to myself. Oh I would tell people I loved the book, or that Salinger was my favourite writer, but I honestly tried to not go further with it than that, to put a lid on it. I'd never have admitted that it wooed me to falling in love with New York forever, never mind the number of times I have read it, not including random flips for favourite passages. Or the fact that I somehow managed to write my Masters thesis on it, when my Masters was in applied linguistics not English literature.

That first 15 year-old time was not for school, which may be the key to everything. I read it fast, just a few days and I was not (and am not) a fast reader. Holden Caufield's breezy first-person narration was so much like conversation you just zipped through. The book's famous opening:

"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."

The book read so fast, so easy, so true I was convinced it was pure autobiography. Not even, cause autobiography still implies some semblance of putting together, of structure, work, effort.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Novel Sept. 4 2006
By Leon
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's the second time I am reading this novel. The first time was about 10 years ago when I just came to Canada for studying in the ESL 3 high school class. It was one of our required readings. I didn't quite like the book the first time I was reading it because at that time I thought the whole story was about this damn stupid crazy kid Holden horsing around in New York City and swearing throughout the book. I couldn't remember and doubt if I actually finished reading the whole book first time. Anyhow, this time I've realized that this book is much deeper then I previously thought. It uses a lot of metaphors to describe the world that crazy kid was experiencing at that moment of his life. But even so, I wouldn't recommend this book to ESL or grade 10 students.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a Kind! May 26 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The storyline is remarkably intriguing and is exceptionally simple. The reason for this book's success, in my opinion, is the way the story is told. Since the story happens to be so common (adolescent escapades) Salinger had to make the book standout in his own way. His formula for success in this case was speaking in a truly original dialect. The slang that Holden speaks, is still edgy to this very day. Salinger is a master of dialect, and it really shines in The Catcher in the Rye.
Salinger's characters are also among the main ingredients in his recipe for success. Each character with it's own trademark. He really captures the different personalities in the world. The characters are written about in such a way that keeps you entertained, and interested. The emotions portrayed by the characters make such a strong impact. When someone is annoyed you can empathize, when someone is angry, you feel bad for them.
I really can't emphasize enough, the talent that Salinger has. He is so fresh, so unique, so smart. The conflicts he comes up with really make you think. The whole story makes you think, and it doesn't stop at the last word. The Catcher in the Rye will leave you in puzzlement for many days. There are so many questionable actions, and so many questionable reactions.
If you like an intelligent and clever entertaining novel, check out The Catcher in the Rye. If you've read some of Salinger's work, and you liked it, you have to read The Catcher in the Rye, it's by far his best work. I really can't stress enough how important this piece of literature is in the fabric of today's books.
Quite frankly, this book was breathtaking. I was truly astonished by the fact that something written in 1951 was this fascinating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Never Fails To Amaze Me May 4 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Catcher in the Rye is a book about a young man named Holden Caulfield who gets traumatized by the death of his brother Allie. This story is narrated by Holden himself as he tells the story to a Psychiatrist in a psychiatric hospital.
Holden is a troubled young adult who is afraid of growing up because he doesn't like grown ups and he wishes he could stay a child. Throughout the book Holden describes why he doesn't like grownups (I don't want to completely ruin the book for you so I won't tell you any reasons.) and why he loves children.
When I read Catcher in the Rye I was really moved at how J.D. Salinger used various symbols throughout the book to help you get inside the mind of Holden Caulfield. The main symbol in the book when holden talks of being the catcher in the rye and standing on the edge of the field keeping the children from falling off. What Holden means by this is that he just wants to keep kids from falling off the cliff and dying (child dying and becoming an adult). Holden beleives children are innocent and he respects them completely. I really thought it was neat that although Holden curses every five to six words throughout the book, when he talks about any child he doesn't curse at all. This is one way that J.D. Salinger shows holdens respect for children in the book.
I must add that even though I absolutely loved this book, friends of mine said they didn't like the book because there were too many symbols and they didn't catch them all therefore the book didn't make much sense to them. I must say this could be a problem for many people. I have read The Catcher in the Rye several times and every time it never fails but I seem to catch something new that I missed before. This is one of the many reasons why this book is one of my favorites. Give it try!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Too old to enjoy Catcher
As a 35 year old reading Catcher I felt like I was 15-20 years too old to get the full experience out of this classic. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Sarabeth - Multiple Momstrosity
4.0 out of 5 stars Holden Caulfield - First World, Rich, Spoiled Brat
An entertaining book that I first read as a teenager and now again, in middle age. My teenage impression of 'The Catcher in the Rye' was that it was 'kind of funny'. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Farheen Orya
5.0 out of 5 stars book
very good book and excellent story the most interesting that I've read so long I recommand it to all my friends
Published 1 month ago by Claude Couillard
4.0 out of 5 stars Relatable Read
I recently finished reading The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. As weird as it sounds, I decided to read this book because it was Charlie’s favourite book in The Perks of... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sam Couture Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Teenage angst is eternal
Just finished reading The Pool Theory by Alexa Nazzaro and it made me want to read this book again. The angst felt by Holden Caulfield is timeless and still hasn't lost its edge. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Siz Piz
1.0 out of 5 stars Probably one of the most overrated novels of modern time
There is little redeeming in this piece of dreck. A perfectly unsympathetic bourgeois bossy-boots who is both delusional and judgmental. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lazarus Plathmeister
1.0 out of 5 stars Classic...ly horrible
I picked up this book thinking "It's a classic - it must be good". As I was reading, the thought kept coming to my mind "it must get better or it would never have become a classic"... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Rose
2.0 out of 5 stars Big deception...
I don't understand why this book is on some ''must read books''......boring from start to end. I don't recommend it.
Published 11 months ago by Pinback
4.0 out of 5 stars The Catcher in the Rye
I've suddently developed an urge to purchase books that I've never read, but without spending a whole lot of cash, so naturally I turned to Amazon. Read more
Published 13 months ago by J. Ward
4.0 out of 5 stars came a little late, but I still got what I asked for!
Came a little late, but that's okay. Still got what i asked for, the copy of the book was in pretty condition and that's all anyone can ask for,right? Read more
Published 14 months ago by Randi MacDonald
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