The Catcher in the Rye

By J.D. Salinger

Words from the achiever

“The forbidden things were a great influence on my life. I was forbidden from reading Catcher in the Rye. I was forbidden from reading the Harrad Experiment, and also a book called Psychopathia Sexualis, a Kraft-Ebbing text from the 19th century. When it was discovered that I was reading this, my parents called in the youth minister to counsel me. He said this would corrupt my mind and I would go insane and all this kind of stuff. We were seated in my parents’ bedroom on my parents’ bed. This man who I was supposed to trust was telling me about things and suddenly he saw that I was very sad because, at the same time, my father was in the hospital dying, so he said, “Cheer up, it’s not that bad,” and he threw me on the bed and he started to tickle me. Now, even at that young age, being very innocent, I knew that what he was doing was wrong and he would not stop. I found out later that he had seduced a young girl, left his wife and ran off with a 16 year-old. Because of that, I cannot stand being tickled to this day. It made me disbelieve everything he had to say about books being bad for you. I was intelligent enough to make up my own mind. I not only had freedom of choice, I had freedom of expression.”

About the book

The moving and funny story of Holden Caulfield, the archetypal alienated teenager.