I'm Crazy

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"I'm Crazy" is a short story written by J. D. Salinger for the December 22,[1] 1945 issue of Collier's magazine.[2] Despite the story's underlying melancholy, the magazine described it as "the heart-warming story of a kid whose only fault lay in understanding people so well that most of them were baffled by him and only a very few would believe in him."[3]

It is told in first-person narrative mode by Holden Caulfield. Salinger later reworked this short story to incorporate it into his classic novel, The Catcher in the Rye.


Boarding school drop-out Holden Caulfield watches a gym from a hill where a basketball game is being played. He then goes to see his elderly history teacher Mr. Spencer, who lectures him about his academic failure. Holden tells Mrs. Spencer about meeting the mother of a "lousy" fellow student on the train, and lying to her about how wonderful her son was, which Holden thought would make her feel better. He says he feels bad about dropping out of school mainly because his mother had just sent him ski boots, albeit the wrong kind.

Holden likes this teacher, but realizes that he gets no sympathy or understanding from him, so he leaves abruptly. He takes a train to New York City and sneaks into his family's apartment, where he talks to his kid sisters Phoebe and Viola. Even Phoebe admonishes him for his academic failure. Holden finally owns up to his parents in a scene that is only described very briefly and indirectly ("When they were all done with me ..."). He concludes that he won't be sent back to school but into an unpleasant office job.


  1. ^ "I'm Crazy" [story in Collier's, December 22, 1945] - SALINGER, J.D. | Between the Covers Rare Books
  2. ^ Slawenski, Kenneth (2010). "Sallinger Uncollected Stories". Dead Caulfields. "I'm Crazy" is an early version of Holden's departure from prep school that later shows up in The Catcher in the Rye. 
  3. ^ Salinger, J. D. (22 December 1945). "I'm Crazy". Collier's Weekly. New York: Crowell-Collier Publishing Company.