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The Catcher in the Rye [Hardcover]

J.D. Salinger
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,341 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 29.00
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School & Library Binding CDN $15.12  
Hardcover, July 16 1951 CDN $18.18  
Paperback CDN $12.27  
Mass Market Paperback CDN $9.49  
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Book Description

July 16 1951 0316769533 978-0316769532 0
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
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
"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.

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
3.0 out of 5 stars An Uniquely American Tale of Teenage Cynicism May 19 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For several years the connotation of a being a "classic" had kept me from reading J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Not knowing specifically what it was about, I finally gave into curiosity when I read it for a literature class. I was instantly sorry I had waited so long to read this book. Holden Caulfield is a lazy, cynical teen in 1950s America and he has just left his third prepatory school to return home to his family in New York City. His parents are expecting him home on a Wednesday, yet it is Monday, so the events of the novel unfold over two days in the Big Apple.
The theme that struck me the most was the one of trying to grow up too early. Holden is very much like this. He presents himself as a mature figure, smoking, drinking, hanging out in clubs, yet in his personal relationships with people, he acts quite immature. In one part of the story, Holden calls up a prostitute, wanting to become a man after all the stories he had heard about girls from his class mates at Pencey Prep, only to acquiesce to his lack of experience and asks if the prostitute would "like to talk".
My main complaint of this novel is that it reads like a journal, giving only Holden's perspective on the events that occur. I believe it would have been an improvement if Salinger had given us a look into other character's minds so we could see their perspective. This is an especially important flaw because Holden, at his center, constantly wonders what others think of him.
I would recommend this novel to teenagers, especially those who feel they do not fit into their particular environment. I know when I was younger I could definitely relate to Holden. I also find it a delicious irony that much like Holden, J.D. Salinger has spent the better part of a century in seclusion in his Northeast home.
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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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2 of 2 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
3.0 out of 5 stars Looks good in my library
Reminds me of high school. Looks good in my library.
Published 2 days ago by Shaun Courtney
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read for any Writer
Story wise, hated it. But the writing? Epic genius. The character was real, if you know what I'm saying. I don't know that we get to read work this raw anymore. Read more
Published 3 months ago by S Legend
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I read it.
I understand why this is such an enduring story. I consumed it quickly, and I will read it again. I recommend it.
Published 5 months ago by P M
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 6 months 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 7 months 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 7 months 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 10 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 14 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 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
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 17 months ago by Pinback
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