Excerpts Here is the opening of J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye," narrated by Holden Caulfield, a tormented prep-school flunk-out who is headed for mental collapse.
If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. They're quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father. They're nice and all -- I'm not saying that -- but they're also touchy as hell. Besides, I'm not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything. I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run-down and had to come out here and take it easy.
In this excerpt, Holden Caulfield, the tormented adolescent hero of J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye," has sneaked into his family's Manhattan apartment to visit his beloved little sister, Phoebe. She learns that he has just flunked out of prep school again and scolds him.