1. Phantom_Of3
    Offline

    Phantom_Of3 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0

    Why is "The Catcher in the Rye" a love-it-or-hate-it book?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Phantom_Of3, Dec 28, 2011.

    So, I've noticed that almost everyone who has read "The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger either loves it or hates it; there seem to be few people who say it was just an "okay" book. Why is this? Why does everyone seem to either love it or hate it?
     
  2. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    I personally just like it; I don't feel particularly strongly about Catcher in the Rye. But I can see why people would love it, it's well written, well characterized, and it's a voice of a generation in the same way that Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a voice of the 70s drug counter-culture. It's not, however, a favorite novel.
     
  3. Phantom_Of3
    Offline

    Phantom_Of3 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, I see what you mean about it being the voice of a generation. After all, Holden Caulfield is a universal character in many ways. I know that I identified with his personality quite well. So I suppose what I don't get is why some people loathe the book. I mean, sure, you could just dislike it if you want, but what about the book could cause some to loathe it?
     
  4. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,724
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I think people might loathe it for the same reason they loathe many books: they were forced to read them at school. Kids, especially rebellious teenagers, do not like being told what to read, and they'll probably have a strong negative reaction to anything they're forced to read. So Catcher in the Rye gets a bad rap. Same with Lord of the Flies. And To Kill a Mockingbird. And Of Mice and Men. Etc.
     
  5. Burlbird
    Offline

    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    295
    Location:
    Somewhere Else
    Lol, especially to read about rebellious teenagers! :)

    I first read Catcher because all of my friends read it. I was 16 and I was irritated by language, by Holden and by the colour of the cover. Not to mention the lousy translation. Baah.
    Then, I re-read it 10 years later. And I loved it. I didn't fall in love with it, it's not on my Top 10 list, but I found Holden to be an interesting, good written character, among other things.
     
  6. Kio
    Offline

    Kio Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Southern Water Tribe
    Many people loved the book because it's a classic and it was the first time a book in its day and age decided to depict an angsty, cynical teenager that swears a lot. It was new and daring at the time and, now, I guess it's not as daring; however, it's still an accurate depiction of many teenagers, especially those in the west who have too much to whine about, generally. Someone could hate it because maybe, I dunno, Holden whines too much or there was no visible direction in the story or something. There are many reasons someone can love or hate a book.
     
  7. Phantom_Of3
    Offline

    Phantom_Of3 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, I can see your point about Holden whining a lot, although just about everyone has one reason or another to whine, right? And many other books lack direction, but are still well-written and well-liked. Take The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. That story had absolutely no direction whatsoever, and yet, many consider it one of his finest stories (though I disagree).
     
  8. Ziggy Stardust
    Offline

    Ziggy Stardust Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    4
    I didn't love it, or hate it. It was just OK for me. It was not at all what I thought it was going to be though. I was quite surprised when I read it.
     
  9. itsall4you
    Offline

    itsall4you New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    England
    I totally agree ^ It wasn't what I was expecting at all. I was slightly disappointed really as I have heard lots of people rave about it so my expectation where high. It was alright, not a book I'm hugely passionate about.
     
  10. spklvr
    Offline

    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Messages:
    734
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Sarpsborg, Norway
    I am one of those who are pretty indifferent to the book. I liked the writing and the story, but I just couldn't enjoy the character. He was just really whiny and unlikable to me. Perhaps because growing up I never felt a need for rebellion and alienation, and has always been generally happy. Maybe because I have read too many books about angsty teenagers and grown exhausted by them....
     
  11. OptimusPrimerib
    Offline

    OptimusPrimerib New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I loved Catcher as a teen but haven't read it since. I have a feeling if I read it again I wouldn't love it as much as I did back then but I would probably still like it quite a bit.

    I think the reason people love/hate Catcher is based almost solely on their connection to Holden.

    Catcher is first person Holdenmania, so if someone has an affinity for Holden and can relate to his being than they'll love the book. Elsewise if they think he's whiny, they'll hate it. For the most part, I think it's really that simple.
     
  12. cswillson
    Offline

    cswillson Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Used-to-be-Space Coast, Florida
    J.D. said he didn't write for others. He wrote for himself and didn't care of he published or sold the story. Why do you write?
     
  13. cswillson
    Offline

    cswillson Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Used-to-be-Space Coast, Florida
    Fear and Loathing had nothing to do with the seventies, it was the mantra of Rolling Stone. I read the book, enjoyed it, made it through twenty minutes or so of the movie, but the only influence it had was with the media, who wished they were doing that instead of book reviews and Watergate stories. Costenada was much of the same.

    BTDTBTTSALI
     
  14. Pheonix
    Offline

    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Messages:
    5,716
    Likes Received:
    401
    Location:
    The Windy City
    You do realize that this thread has been dormant for like a year right?
     
  15. cswillson
    Offline

    cswillson Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Used-to-be-Space Coast, Florida
    Nah. I'm a tyro idiot. Don't feel bad about pointing out my shortcomings (idiocies). I'll grow into the culture.

    Thanks.

    But I still wasn't wrong.
     
  16. Solitude
    Offline

    Solitude Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2011
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    I read the book last March for a school project. The book had a tremendous impact on me. As a child, I had loved to read, but I didn't read books that much in middle school, the exception being a seven month Stephen King phase. This book helped me discover actual literature and inspired me to learn how to write. I didn't have that 'intense' connection with Holden that some teenagers form, but it is a well crafted novel. I'd rate it as one of my favorites.

    A lot of people read it when they're experiencing teenage angst and disillusionment with society, and they love that they can relate to a fictional character who embodies many of their current feelings. As the years go on, nostalgia most likely intensifies their feelings.

    Edit: Wow. Didn't notice the thread's date.
     
  17. neuropsychopharm
    Offline

    neuropsychopharm Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    28
    I read it at 13 for the first time (then again in high school American Lit), and fell in love. Maybe it's about when you're exposed. Most of my high school classmates found him to be a whiny mess, but I got him completely (in my eyes, anyway). JD Salinger made me want to write a book just as powerful.
     
  18. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    I actually prefer Salinger's short stories to Catcher. "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" is especially good. Highly recommended.
     
  19. Thumpalumpacus
    Offline

    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    106
    Location:
    Texas
    I loved CitR immediately, even though I was assigned to read it in high school. I immediately identified with Holden, in the sense that I was a misfit myself. I can understand the "whiny" complaint, because if one isn't a misfit the points do seem petty.

    But when you're at the sharp end of the barbs, they have a different significance.

    Anyway, I think Salinger's characters are pretty well-drawn, and the story of a nervous breakdown gives him a wide-open tableau for exploring emotions.
     
  20. Amin
    Offline

    Amin Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Milkyway
    I feel like I cheated now. In my second year of Uni, my lecturer recommended A Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nighttime and Catcher in the Rye. I read ACIoaDitN and loved it for various reasons, then tried CitR and couldn't read past the first couple of pages. I was not gripped, I was replused by the characters and just wasn't drawn in. Do I consider myself to be one of the those who hates the book? I can't say for certain as I didn't read enough to truly tell. What I do know is that it seemed to be on a topic that didn't interest me, set in the real world (for which I hardly ever read or enjoy).
    I've been told that it's a good rite of passage book, though.
     
  21. BallerGamer
    Offline

    BallerGamer Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm in the crowd that loved it at first read. I have strong views of duplicity ever since I was a kid and rarely have I read anything that synchronized with my views of it. The only other one is an anime called Neon Genesis Evangelion.
     
  22. The Tourist
    Offline

    The Tourist Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,089
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Wisconsin.
    I don't know if I like the book or not, I never read it.

    I do know that I hate the concept of the book. I'm one of those guys who'll hate anything if forced to do it. The book was never required reading in any English I ever took in school, not even in college. However, you must realize that I'm a 'boomer and books on "self awakening" are a dime a dozen.
     
  23. spartan928
    Offline

    spartan928 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2012
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    PA
    Give it a shot, it's a short read. In reading your posts Tourist, I'm surprised you think you wouldn't identify with it. I don't interpret it as an "awakening" novel at all. I find it's a very simple story about a teenager who wants to "be". Yet, the world around him has so many disparate agendas, both good and nefarious. It's about the struggle to be free, but perhaps not being ready for it. It's brilliance in my opinion is it's simplicity and the style of first person narrative Salinger uses in such a unique way.
     
  24. The Tourist
    Offline

    The Tourist Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,089
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Wisconsin.
    Okay, fair enough. My wife and I go to B&N every morning, I'll search the book out.
     
  25. 123456789
    Offline

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,346
    Likes Received:
    3,092

    I half agree with you, Spartan. I always saw the MC as a spoiled loser.
     

Share This Page