Put Catcher to Rest Already

Salinger standby should make way for newer books

By Michael Foreman,  Newser User

Posted Aug 28, 2008 7:16 PM CDT

(Newser) – JD Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye may have once been edgy, coming-of-age literature, but does it deserve a place in today's curricula? It's time to retire Holden Caulfield, argues Anne Trubek in Good magazine. "Salinger’s novel lacks the currency or shock value it once had," she says. "But it is still ubiquitously taught even though many newer novels of adolescence are available." 

Despite poor reviews from notable critics such as Joan Didion, teachers in the 1960s chose Catcher as a "relatable" alternative to dusty tomes such as David Copperfield, thus creating the "Salinger Industry." Today, young-adult authors still suffer comparisons. "After half a century of new, equally 'relatable' coming-of-age-stories," asks Trubek, "don’t some of Holden’s younger siblings deserve the end-of-the-year spot in sophomore English?

Salinger's novel is still ubiquitously taught even though many newer novels of adolescence are available.
Salinger's novel "is still ubiquitously taught even though many newer novels of adolescence are available."   (Flickr)
Trubek suggests teachers add contemporary works such as Tobias Wolff's Old School to their curricula.
Trubek suggests teachers add contemporary works such as Tobias Wolff's "Old School" to their curricula.   (Flickr)
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Salinger’s novel no longer deserves the top spot in contemporary coming-of-age literature. - Anne Trubek

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