I have never read J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye.  There.  I said I said it.  All these years I think I’ve been assuming I read it in high school (translate: glanced at to pass the test).  I say “I think” because I have no recollection at all, absolutely zero, of this Holden Caufield, this icon of teenagers.

It’s on my mind now because Rex just came home from a trip, pulled this tiny book out of his briefcase — tiny, like you could slip in your hip pocket — and said, I still don’t know if I can say what it’s about.  But it was good.  There’s a lot of falling.  I’m going to have to think about it.  This is a pretty slim description for Rex.  If I read it, will I see what it’s about?

I pick the paperback up off the table.  This edition has a plain white cover.  No print at all, excepting the title and author’s name.  No synopsis on the back.  No blurb, not one, about its classic-ness.  Inside, there’s the story.  And that’s it.  No overwrought, cerebral introduction by a well-known academic or famous-writer-fan.  No afterword.  No reading guide.  Not even an epigraph.  What book these days doesn’t have all of this and more, classic or current?  I open to the first page and check out the first paragraph:  If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is ….  That’s it.  Now I’m going to have to read it too.


7 thoughts on “Catcher

  1. glasseye

    Thank goodness. I thought I was the only one who’d never read it. It’s on my list, along with Gone with the Wind and Moby Dick.

    I have to admit that the classics are rarely enjoyable for me. I read them the way I eat broccoli – for nourishment rather than pleasure.

    1. Teri Post author

      I tried GONE WITH THE WIND and didn’t make it very far. I wonder if I’ve seen the movie too many times and spoiled any curiosity for the book. I read MOBY DICK (the whole thing, even those awful, dry whaling chapters) in grad school, and even was pleasantly surprised. I hope to go back and read it again one day, sometime when I can devote hours and hours to the reading contemplation it deserves — maybe when I’m 90? 😉

      1. Deb

        Oh gosh, I bow down to you. I’ve tried Moby Dick numerous times and can’t make it past page 3! Hey, did you know your dog is eating that tree?

  2. amyg

    i’m saving all the classics for when i’m an independently wealthy renown writer who spends half the year turning out 2 to 3 bestsellers and the other half reading. (doesn’t that sound grand???)

  3. Deb

    I reread my way through many classics after our first move to Finland in the mid-90s. The local library stocked them in English for all the uber highschool students studying English lit. Charles Dickens is my favorite.

    1. Teri Post author

      I need to give Dickens another try … as an adult. And yes, your keen eye did find my dog eating that tree. She eats rocks, too. And other unmentionable things. Crazy dog.

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