Tuesday, February 2, 2010

JD Salinger Guest Post

Check out Richard Bowes' thoughts on Catcher in the Rye, and why no book can survive assigned reading.

Though it wasn't my favorite school assigned reads (The Great Gatsby and Cry the Beloved Country are tied for that spot), I definitely enjoyed Catcher. In what I thought a strange turn of events, however, when I was teaching, most of my students didn't identify with Holden and his drinking and swearing rebellion.  They found him whiny and unlikable.

8 comments:

Kay said...

When "Catcher in the Rye" was assigned reading, I remember having great fun quoting from the book. All the things I wasn't supposed to be saying as a "nice young lady".

But then, I gave up on being a "nice young lady" very early.

TirzahLaughs said...

Well, he is whiny. Holden is all the things he hates. His problems are rather mild in the modern day. How can a drinking, swearing, and lying kid who is depressed compete with a mute, bulemic, depressed vampire with magical abilities?

Sarah said...

Ooh, will I be shunned if I admit that I haven't read "Catcher in the Rye" and that I disliked "The Great Gatsby" the first time I read it?
I'm shunned, aren't I? *sigh*
I really like TGG now, and I'm planning to read "Catcher in the Rye."

suzie townsend said...

I'd never shun you Sarah. When you have *free* time (I know it's a rarity, but still...) read TGG just to read it and marvel as the way he puts words and sentences together. It's beautiful. But the beauty of it is hard to get during a first read, especially if you're reading it for school.

Suzette Saxton said...

They found Holden whiny? Wow. How interesting! I loved that book in HS. Perhaps I, too, was all the things Holden hated. I'll have to read TGG again. I didn't appreciate it at all.

Thanks for the link! Heading there next.

inkwench said...

His post is an interesting take. When I was in HS (in the 90s), I was the only kid in my class who didn't "relate" to Holden. I'm one of those people who found him whiny and annoying.

As for The Great Gatsby, sadly, my English teacher ruined that book for me. *ducks* I've tried reading it since, and it's not bad, but I can't switch off my memory of her discussing it. :-(

Sarah said...

Okay, I'll definitely reread it! We watched the movie in class too...have you seen it?

Suzette Saxton said...

Ha ha, just read this line in Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why:

"Holden. What a horrible first date that depressed loner would make."

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Five Random Things About Suzie

1. I drink so much orange soda, it's probably running through my veins. I've been known to go through a twelve pack of diet sunkist in a day.

2. I'm legitimately nocturnal (or a vampire). I will be so exhausted at two pm that I'm falling asleep standing up - it has happened before, at Six Flags no less - but as soon as the sun goes down I'm wide awake.

3. I have a gorgeous unused $6000 Reem Acra wedding dress hanging in my closet, and it showed up on my doorstep the same day my (now ex) fiance broke up with me. And thank God for that. I wouldn't have wanted to waste that dress on him.

4. Social anxiety plagues me daily. I write a script and practice in front of the mirror when I have to make a phone call, but most people who interact with me have no idea how nervous I am (or perhaps they lie) because I've worked so hard to try to overcome it.

5. I'm actually worried that I will never love my children (when I do have them in the far off future) as much as I love my dogs. I just like animals better than people - they're sweet and innocent and soft and furry - is that so wrong?