Customer Reviews for

Dream Catcher: A Memoir

Average Rating 3.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2007

    Father and Child

    Margaret Salinger has written an acount of growing up with her father, J.D. Salinger, and mother,Claire, and younger brother Matthew in Cornish, a remote corner of Vermont. J.D. forbids her mother to have any help in the house which lacks a toilet and running water. Gradually, Claire gains assistance under the guidance of an older woman, Mrs. Cox, who invites them to tea and demands that Salinger allow helpers in the house. As a young child, Margatet enjoys freedom to explore the countryside. When she reaches age six, the village school she attends mocks her for being an outsider. At grade six, she is sent to a boarding school where she meets a friend also suffering from the Jane Eyre-like existence in the private school At last, she is allowed to leave. For one blissful year in grade seven, she attends public shool and enjoys a normal existence.'At Hanover Junior High, for the first time ever, I fit in.' But the next year, when her parents separate, she can no longer live with J.D. and her mother banishes her to a boarding school, where she makes friends under the misguided dictatorship of a would be Wilderness Outbound-type school. During vacations, she is confronted by her father's young lover, Joyce Maynard, who doesn't know how to cope with her and her brother. Her adolescence is marked by drugs and alcohol abuse. She manages to earn a fellowship to Oxford University, England. There she meets a Japanese scholar and becomes pregnant by him. He deserts her so she has an abortion. Margaret gradually finds employment back in the U.S. and comes to terms with her father's quirky lifestyle. She meets and marries and has a son whom she adores and raises in a manner quite unlike how she grew up as an adult, Margaret attains stability and love and is able to regard her growing up with detachment as she writes her trenchant memoir.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2014

    A frighten girl

    She runs around scared.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2014


    Waits staring at the door for a girl to come in. Hes only wearing boxers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2003

    Cliche ridden prose from the daughter of a truly interesting man

    If you are hoping to glean some insight into the character and psyche of J.D. Salinger through this book, I would advise you to save your money. J.D. Salinger, here, is a one-dimensional, moralistic hermit. This text does little to inform in a substantive matter, and does, inadvertently, reinforce the stereotypes, gossip and general supposed knowledge of his enigmatic persona. In fact, the same few qualities are again and again held up for passing scrutiny (let's face it, it gets tired after a while- there's no subtext to it)- he lives in a separate house, he doesn't want his children to live with him, regardless of the consequences, etc. The impression this reader received is that Margaret herself knows very little about her father, had very limited interaction with him, and is grappling for anecdotes, some meaningful, others choppy, irrelevant and truly dull. The product is, of course, truly about Margaret herself. Despite what you might expect, this is her memoir, as promised in the title, and has very little to do with what it was like to grow up as the daughter of a famous and controversial writer. Margaret seems to gain insight into the situation, or at least to try to placate her readers in the absence of an almost total lack of information about her father and their relationship, with quotes from his books. These references are drawn conveniently into her text, her memories, leading one to beleive that perhaps J.D. modeled the characters after Peggy and Peggy's experiences. Rather, it seems, Peggy is simply wishful thinking and sadly, seems to play no real role in her father's work or lifeplans. This story divines much more insight into the character of her mother, who is at times vaguely abusive, hyper-sexualized, compassionate, conflicted- the disconnectedness of the resulting character of her mother leads one to almost believe that she could be imaginary. In addition to carefully chosen, almost academic references, quotes from her father's work, Margaret also quotes rock tunes, and comes off as a veritable Bartlett's at times. 'Quotation' marks litter the text and encapsulate mundane ideas and slang. She often waxes poetic and wanes prepschool vacuity. The resulting memoir is of very little fascination, Margaret herself can't seem to decide if she was an abused child, neglected, popular, attractive, wanted, etc. Heavy on the polarity between her parents, lean on the introspective revelations of their character and the subsequent impact this had on her. I, for one, found this text to be mostly impenetrable and decidedly dull, and have come to the conclusion that, despite the noteriety and talent of her father, Margaret's life was truly ordinary, unexceptional and not worth reading about. She is just more of the same, at times so like you and I and other, and while that is humanizing, it's certainly not worth 436 pages. Despite the critical reviews, the prose is not startling or seemingly genetic in its deftness. To borrow a quote from my own canon, 'The maestro says it's Mozart, but it sounds like bubblegum..' Leonard Cohen, Waiting for the Miracle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2000

    Dream Catcher: A Memoir

    If you're a memoir, biograhy, literary criticism, or Salinger fan. You'll get it all here. Peggy Salinger's dared to tread on hallowed ground but even Ron Rosenbaum of the New York Times had to say, 'this memoir may well prompt a reassessment of the place of Salinger¿s fiction in American literature.' You go girl!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2000

    Dream Catcher: A Memoir

    I love this book. Ms. Salinger has indeed inherited the gene for splendid prose. Some readers may have difficulty categorizing this book, for she is a triple threat, thorough historian, honest diarist, and insightful critic. I've read many memoirs but she brings a new approach to the genre. I look forward to her future works with great anticipation. Congratulations.

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