002: Beholden to Holden

Are we more than just "one-hit wonders" yet?!!

In this episode we almost have a legitimate fight about the legitimacy of The Catcher in the Rye in the American canon, tackle a near-medical emergency, and accost an imaginary J.D. Salinger in a grocery store. 

One of the big questions we ponder in this episode is: how autobiographical is J.D. Salinger’s only full-length novel? If so, what are we to make of Holden Caulfield? And is is ever appropriate to name a kid after him? These, and other searing Catcher in the Rye questions, are on tap in Re:Read Episode 002. 

To reread with us, grab a copy of The Catcher in the Rye at your local bookstore or neighborhood library, or download it from your favorite digital book space. Use the comments below to share your thoughts with our Re:Read community. Or, if you just want to contact us - use our private Re:Spond page! Either way, join the conversation! We'd love you to! 

Ready to Re:Read Deeper?


Read how Salinger’s work, including The Catcher in the Rye, has impacted writers of our generation in the engaging essay collection With Love and Squalor: 14 Writers Respond to the Work of J.D. Salinger edited by Kip Kotzen and Thomas Beller. To learn more about the author, check out the 2013 documentary Salinger from your local library or on Netflix, where it’s currently streaming.



Fun Facts:

  • J.D. Salinger carried pages of Holden’s story with him during battle in World War II. Nothin’ phony about that.
  • According to the American Librarian Association, Catcher is frequently the target of book-banners, and was challenged as recently as 2009 by a high school in Montana.
  • Holden uses the word “phony” 35 times in the book, as well as “crazy” 77 times and “goddam” a whopping 245 times.