J.D. Salinger – Catcher In The Rye {Weekly Geeks Q&A}

Posted on | June 26, 2009 | 9 Comments

So, I’m taking ages with the Weekly Geeks’ Catching Up, and for that I apologize. The third book I’m going to tackle is also one of my favorites, and I’ve been reading it every year for god alone knows how long. I also have three copies of this book – one which stays at work, in case I need a break; one that sits on my bookshelf, always ready to be read; and one that’s just there in case I lend one of the other copies out.  As you can imagine, I’m quite excited to do this one! Thought of saving the best for last, but… Nah!

On with the questions…

From Jacqueline C:

I love Catcher In the Rye but some people think that it’s very overrated. How do you feel about it?

By my above introduction, I think it’s safe to assume I don’t think it’s overrated at all. Holden Caulfield might be one of the most intriguing characters in literature, and to this date, I think he would be the one fictional character I’d love to have a conversation with. I’m not sure why people find it overrated, to be honest. Is it because they find Caulfield’s character annoying? Or, is it because they think the story itself isn’t special? Any idea?

From Louise:

Do you think Catcher in the Rye should STILL be on a bannned books list, even though it was probably provocative when it first came it, surely, it shouldn’t be in 2009?

Not really, no. I can see why it was banned, back in the day, with the explicit language, the occasional violence, and sexual content, and of course, the way Caulfield challenges everything society stands for. However, with the influences of television and the internet now days, I think the book is more relevant than ever, because it’s basic theme isn’t negative. Conversely, it explores the loss of innocence, and how Caulfield wants to save children from the ‘phoniness’ of adulthood, which is likely to be the end of their innocence.
With the internet and TV now-a-days, it’s depressing to see how quickly children are growing up, and how, their childhood isn’t really one of innocence. I see nine year olds swearing, I see teenagers speaking disrespectfully to their parents, and I see everyone conforming to the same thing… and the one child that tries not to, automatically becomes the butt of all jokes. And I sympathize with that kid.
If someone is going to read this book, they will not be more corrupted, or they will not be worse of. Not according to me, anyway.

From Eva:

How does Catcher in the Rye compare to Salinger’s short stories? I love those, but I’m worried that at 23 I’m too old for Catcher…would I just be rolling my eyes?

In my opinion, for what that’s worth, Catcher is timeless. I’ve not read Salinger’s short stories, so I can’t really compare the two, but… I’m 24, and I absolutely love the book. The thing is, you’ll either love the protagonist or hate him. He’s a hypocritical phony teenager, battling the world around him, thinking he’s surrounded by conformists. To be fair, he does make some very valid points about society. However, towards the end of the book, there’s this one scene where he’s talking to his sister, and that just did it for me. It was that one scene that makes the book as amazing as it is, and the one scene that shows you where poor Caulfield is coming from. I’d recommend at least giving it a shot – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


9 Responses to “J.D. Salinger – Catcher In The Rye {Weekly Geeks Q&A}”

  1. Jackie (Farm Lane Books)
    June 27th, 2009 @ 8:21 am

    This is on my TBR challenge list this year. I have heard really mixed reviews for it, but am looking forward to reading it after reading your Q&A.

  2. uncertainprinciples
    June 27th, 2009 @ 9:46 am

    Look forward to hearing what you think of it. If you enjoy it even half as much as I did, you’ll love it… although, I hope I’m not building it up way too much!

  3. Mish
    June 27th, 2009 @ 4:27 pm

    Now that I’m older and way out of high school, I’d like to reread Catcher. Even though I don’t remember the minute details, I agree it’s timeless.

  4. uncertainprinciples
    June 28th, 2009 @ 9:49 am

    You should! It’s bizarre, but every time I re-read it (a part of it), I feel like I’ve come away with something new. Considering I’ve read it over thirty times, I think that’s quite impressive.

  5. Mish
    June 28th, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

    Impressive, yea. Brings to mind the movie Conspiracy Theory where Mel Gibson’s character owns shelves of copies.

    Like many in the queue, I’ll get to it eventually. Besides, my cousin’s middle name is Holden.

  6. claire
    June 28th, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

    I love Holden, too. But I guess he’s easier to love when you’ve read this young the first time. My favourite part was reading Phoebe’s notebook. :D

  7. uncertainprinciples
    June 28th, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

    @Mish : I haven’t seen that one. Any good?

    @claire : I think you’re right. Most people I know, who’ve been quite indifferent about the book, read it for the first time in their 20s. Phoebe’s a great character, isn’t she? The scene with her and Holden at the zoo is a classic.

  8. Mish
    June 29th, 2009 @ 12:12 am

    Yep, plus Julia Roberts costars. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it.

  9. uncertainprinciples
    June 29th, 2009 @ 10:31 pm

    Adding it to my ‘to-be-watched’ list, along with Color Purple. Thanks!

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