Parent reviews for The Catcher in the Rye

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Common Sense says

age 14+

Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 15+

Based on 36 reviews

Kids say

age 14+

Based on 122 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
3 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.
age 16+

Decent book, not for the immature.

This book I think is pretty good. Holden Caulfield needs some serious help though. He shows lots of signs of grievance from the loss of his brother. He uses dirty words in quite literally every page of the book. There’s mentions of prostitutes throughout, smoking and drinking as well. I do believe there’s also usage of a few slurs, so please read with caution.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.
age 13+

I think it might be too intellectually challenging for some parents

I loved this book when I first read it at age 14 and continue to admire Salinger's writing to this day. It's fun to read the text again almost 30 years later and appreciate the differences in my interpretation. Some of the parent reviewers appear to simply not understand a complex narrative. It is not an easy "closed story" that explains everything for you. as other shave noted, there is a lot of cursing, discussion of sex, and alcohol consumption by minors. However, a strong 13+ reader should not have any trouble with the text, and a mature 13 + will understand that the "bad behavior" and cursing is not to mimicked. In sum, a great read that will not transform your child into anything bad, just a better reader.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
1 person found this helpful.
age 13+

1950s literary version of Tumblr

I am now a 21-year-old writer and literature student, and I read this novel when I was 15 or 16 and nearly exclusively reading major literary works. I did not understand it at all. It seemed like day-in-the-life antics and misadventures of Holden Caulfield, with no climax nor substance nor meaning. I have since re-read it, and in retrospect, I understand its merit. Though I was a rather insightful teen, I encountered great difficulty in drawing any meaning from the text. I still do not connect with it. I've heard that its more impactful and relatable when a reader is younger, but I was very mature by 16 and had moved past the disillusionment phase that nearly every teen experiences, so perhaps I read it past my time. The way some people describe their love for the novel makes it sound like the 1950s literary version of Tumblr. I'd also like to note, that it is hinted at that Holden Caulfield is recording the novel from within a mental institution. This is based on the first and last few paragraphs, which he mostly describes as "this place," i.e., "...before I was in this place."

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.
age 14+

Hilarious

This book is very funny indeed. I am 47 and reading it for the first time. I am going to ask my 15 year old to read it after me because I am certain it will make him laugh and because it is such an easy read. He struggles with reading and the language is very basic and the plot and characters are not complicated , so it is perfect for someone who struggles with books with lots of characters, relationships and complex plots. I also relate to the kid, a lot of his thoughts are thoughts I and many of my mates had growing up, only described in a quaint, old fashioned manner.
age 15+

It's better when you read it as an older teens but not for other age groups...

I read this book when I was about 15-16 years old and it was pretty good. I can't really say I like the book at all now that I'm grown. It's one of those strange books that is best read while you're still a teenager. Read it too young and it's highly inappropriate but wait too long and the main character becomes totally unrelatable. It's best read while you're still in highschool, preferably during sophomore through senior year but perhaps young college student. The main character can be really relatable to the teenaged mindset but to the adult he can be totally self-absorbed and seem reckless in his behaviors and not have a good sense of reality and doesn't seem to learn anything (book lacks a fulfilling ending). It's not a great book but its good for older teens.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 13+

An absolute classic

This is a fabulous book. I read it twice over when I first read it at age 16 and is now a favourite of my own teenage children. I feel sorry for those parents who can't see past the swearing or sexual content. You're missing out on a true masterpiece. At least the kids seem to get it.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
age 14+

One of the greatest books I've ever read

A truly amazing read. The book follows Holden Caufeild, a 16 year old boy alienated by the society around him on his rambling adventures in New York. This books is funny, and a big part of that is Holden's inner monologue which is punctuated with constant "It really did"s and "it really killed me"s. The deeper message in the book about growing up, the alienation of society and the effects of Trauma are very interesting, especially if you've read some of Salinger other work. Some may dislike Holden, but personally I thought he was one of the most relatable and enjoyable to read characters I have ever read, even if he can be a bit of a prick.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 18+

Burn it

I had to read this for my sophomore year of high school, we all agreed that it sucked, even the teacher agreed. And in my opinion, if South Park rips on it for being as bad as it is, that’s a sign. My complaints are that it’s essentially a middle schooler that complains, cusses, sexually active, and manipulates people, ya’know, the absolute Worst kind of middle schoolers. Oh! And not to mention that he’s really into smoking and I do not recall if anyone actually tries to get him to stop smoking. There is no character development at all, and by the end, it just feels like he only learns that everyone but him is a phony. Basically: the book is terrible.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking