Heller, Joseph. Catch-22. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.
Reason read: I started reading this in September but I can’t remember why. I learned that the paperback version was released in the month of October so I’ll go with that.
This is the anti-war anthem of baby boomers. Army Air Corps Captain John Yossarian can’t stand flying missions even though he’s a trained bombardier. As a pacifist, he will do anything to avoid combat missions. Most of Catch-22 is Yossarian constantly getting caught up in red tape and dealing with crazy people in even crazier situations. The combination of multiple points of view and no sense of chronology drove me crazy. Admittedly, I did not finish Catch-22 even though it’s a pretty short and easy to read book. I got caught up in how disorganized it all seemed to be. As an aside, I was talking to the president of my institution and was pleasantly surprised to learn he didn’t care for Catch-22 either. He was as lost with the absurdity of it all as I was. To me, it was the repetition. I am not a fan of hearing something a thousand times ten different ways.
Quotes to quote, “Men went mad and were rewarded with medals,” and “Hungry Joe was a throbbing, ragged mass of mobile irritability.”
Author fact: Joseph Heller’s first novel was Catch-22.
Book trivia: Catch-22 was made into a movie in 1970 starring Art Garfunkel, Orson Welles, and John Voight. Of course, I haven’t seen it. Is anyone surprised? It would drive my husband absolutely crazy to know this is on my list. He loves war crap.
Playlist: “The Star Spangled Banner”
Nancy said: Pearl mentioned Catch-22 because the plot is similar to Kafka’s The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War. They are both black comedies about an unwilling soldier dealing with bizarre military bureaucracy.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Czech it Out” (p 70). Since Catch-22 has nothing to do with the Czech Republic, it shouldn’t be in the chapter.