Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger

Recently I completed The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and without a doubt this is the most powerful book I have ever read. I had heard that the book is surrounded by controversies, and that it has been banned too. I never knew why there was a controversy, and did not bother to check any details even after I bought the book – I just started reading…

Books to me are a form of escapism. I flee from this world with a book in hand. I live the life of the protagonist, feel the pain and joy of the characters, and lose myself in the pages. With this book I started to live the life of Holden Caulfield and life turned hell. The guy depressed me immensely. I had been in a happy frame of mind when I started reading the book, as the book progressed, my mood deteriorated to the extent that I had to stop reading the book. I gave the book a wide berth for few days, picked it up again and just finished it off without involving myself in the book. It is just a story of a teenager on his own in New York for few days. He meets a myriad of people there and feels that everyone is a phony. His negativity makes the reader focus on only the negatives of any character.

I enjoy reading because I get involved in what is happening, this time the plan backfired spectacularly. I was in a happy mood and got depressed on reading this book; if a depressed guy picks up the book, I’d really pity him. It surely is a commanding book with brilliant writing skills on display.

18 Responses to “Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger”


  1. 1 pkj August 27, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Yeah … it was depressing for me too. I guess it is like a really bad dish with a powerfully bad taste. Probably the reason why it is banned.

  2. 2 nipun August 27, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    i agree, an amazing read. The Catcher in the Rye is a pretty powerful narrative on the archtypical rebel…
    only thing is given its mass reputation as a favorite among loners and outcasts, it might even be considered phony by some of those very same loners and outcasts 😀
    btw …who’re u gonna assassinate now 🙂

  3. 3 Sreejith August 27, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    I tried buying this but its still way too expensive! can’t pay so much to buy depression 🙂

  4. 4 Karan August 27, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    Shall try it now!

  5. 5 Poorna Shashank August 28, 2007 at 8:04 am

    i started reading it loong time back; but just about managed to scrape through 10 pages when decided to stop. not my type. you on the other hand sir are very very brave.

  6. 6 obelix August 28, 2007 at 8:37 am

    Soon …

    As soon as I get my hands on it

  7. 7 pkj August 28, 2007 at 11:19 am

    it is rumoured that the assassin of JFK had been reading this book minutes before shooting him. wild huh ?

  8. 8 Kunal August 28, 2007 at 11:30 am

    pkj, that would be an apt summary …

    nipun, I did not get that involved later on … so no assasinations coming here 😛

    sreejith, dude I bought it for 250 @ Odyssey … don’t go for the hard-back, paper-back is good too 😀

    karan, read at your own risk!

    kopos, thank you sir 🙂

    obelix, go ahead.. just don’t kill someone…

    pkj, don’t know about JFK, but John Lennon killer had it – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catcher_in_the_rye#Controversy

  9. 9 sandeep August 28, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    it happens with me too.. especially harry potter books..reading books takes you into a world of there own ..

  10. 10 jayaram August 29, 2007 at 3:27 am

    scary book that is, for a week after reading it i was in depression . Not kidding

  11. 11 Kunal August 29, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    sandeep, harry potter books are really good (or bad?) in this sense…

    jayaram, I know.. I have had the same experience …

  12. 12 alosh August 30, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Halfway through the book I got curios about the phrase and googled for it. Spoliers! Killed it for me completely.

  13. 13 mythalez September 1, 2007 at 4:08 am

    waat !! wat is all this depression abt !!

    I had read the book without a break .. in one sittin and loved it completely .. and is among my all time favs 😀
    actually i think there ll be quite a few references to this book on my blog 😀 … and no dnt wrry .. am not a killer in the making 😛

  14. 14 Kunal September 3, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    alosh, there is nothing to kill for in the book .. yeah but the book has made people killers 🙂

    rama, dude you are weird… everyone who read the book has been depressed, but you 😀

  15. 16 Anna January 24, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    I just finished reading the book (for school), and while the dude in it certainly was depressed quite a bit of the time, I didn’t find the story itself altogether too depressing; more fascinating than anything else, the way he thought about things and about people, and how he can be quite negative at times but still have nice things to say about people — because he did — and act nice towards them. And how the simplest things gave him happiness, like his little sister, and those two nuns.

    I thought it was a very good book, and while it dealt with depression, I wouldn’t say it was depressing in itself. Of course, I might be in a period of my life where I’m less affected by that (on account of not being able to feel much except stress =P), but oh well!

    Quite a good book anyway.

  16. 17 Ahimaz March 30, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I read it when I was depressed and taken ill. I absconded from the job locking myself up in my room for a week or two; it was a virus. I was quite pleased with the read. I felt the narration in my bones. The monologue was rebellious but mean time beautifully chiseled. I only felt better reading it.

    It wasn’t JKF’s assassin but John Lennon’s who was reading it. The culprit, Mark David Chapman, is a disturbed soul since childhood and a dope shooter. He would have anyway done it with or without the book in question. The said influence of the book is just an excuse. Holden’s character, though twisted, has redemptive qualities to it. He has appreciation for even smallest things in life and his goal is to be a guardian of kids; in other words, their innocence.


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