The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger the Book I Have Reread the Most

Essay by Luke Foster

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” 
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

JD Salinger’s novel the Catcher in the Rye is the book I have reread the most. I have lost count how many times I have read it, but I read it first in high school and then at least four times since then. I went to buy it to read it again as my copy is in storage, but it was too expensive at $22.95.

I can relate to the central character Holden Caulfield and his younger sister Phoebe.

“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going, I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.” 
― J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

I love the character that Salinger has created in Holden. I have also collected a DVD documentary about Salinger who ended up becoming a hermit. Salinger got his start getting his short stories published in the prestigious literary magazine the New Yorker. I tried to follow in his footsteps and sent some of my essays to the New Yorker, but I got knocked back.

“When you’re dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.” 
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Holden is such a damaged and loveable character.

“I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.” 
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Salinger died in 2010 of natural causes at the age of 91.