The Catcher in the Rye

Book review by Liz Perle, Common Sense Media
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Common Sense says

age 14+

One of the greatest novels of the 20th century.

Parents say

age 15+

Based on 35 reviews

Kids say

age 14+

Based on 122 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 18+

Not For Classroom Instruction

Dear Parents and Students, While Catcher in the Rye remains one of my favored American Classics, it is not for classroom instruction. First, Salinger never intended it for an adolescent reading audience. It has always been a book written for adults. In fact, the story's theme resonates the ideal of protecting childhood innocence through the main character's struggled and hurried existence of developmental life experiences. His intense suffering, due to the abandonment of developmental theory, sadly embodies an overwhelming majority of our American youth. If we want to best serve our children's social-emotional and cognitive growth, we need to be on point with their stages of development. The continuum of adolescent development is so wide and unique to each child. Thus, as pillars of educational excellence, we need to be mindful of the materials we choose for learning. Guidance required for sensitive issues as is threaded throughout this story (suicide, rebellion, prostitution, drugs, alcohol, pedophilia, homosexuality, and vulgar language content) is beyond teacher training. The social-emotional well being of students should always front load instructional practice. Literary learning targets can be met through alternate texts. Parents and educators alike should champion the simple message J.D. Salinger penned... Provide your children with developmental stages of experiences that fit their unique needs. This is how we will together move our youth forward with greater sensitivity and care.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
2 people found this helpful.
age 18+

A different take

I read this book in high school and was so disgusted by it in a number of ways. For this review, I am going to take this from the viewpoint of someone having watched people that HAVE mental health challenges read this. Because we all do tend to read and relate to characters and content, based on how our own lives are, this book can actually feed problems for people struggling with certain mental health issues. If you have someone that is struggling with severe depression , it is not going to always produce a situation where they feel somehow "connected" with this damaged young man. I have seen it feed depression and trigger reckless behaviors in some with mental health issues , I will leave specific diagnoses out. If we are taking an honest look at the whole picture of those who are reading this, it can be be something that causes more destruction for an individual, rather than be some kind of an iconic novel. Sexual abuse and severe mental health conversations because of a book, are not something I feel should be led by a teacher in a classroom, there needs to be other people involved. I personally feel, that there are far greater "American Classics", that should be read in high schools nowadays, that are worth the time to contemplate and learn from. These are challenging times . There are many things that are negative in the world around us and bad things that do happen. HOWEVER, there are many positive changes occuring as well and people who choose to make it so, and share HOW they did, even when dealing with their own struggles. I think that we should be helping our young people people today with literature that can uplift and teach, without all the vulgarity and unnecessary darkness that they are affected by in other sources. It's all about choice. I feel we can make better ones, with some of the books required for young people to read in school.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.

Book Details

  • Author: J. D. Salinger
  • Genre: Literary Fiction
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: December 31, 1969
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
  • Number of pages: 214
  • Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), iBooks, Kindle
  • Last updated: August 2, 2021

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