One star Amazon reviews of classic movies, music and literature. Today we take a look at Catch-22:
There are many myths that persist in modern life. One myth is that war is “meaningless”, “useless” or “insane.” Another myth is that Catch-22 is a good book. The reality of this second myth was brought home to me when I attempted to read this book. I gave up in disgust after 80 pages. I felt as though I was reading a children’s fairy tale rather than a serious piece of literature. This is a horrible and insulting book. The “plot” (if one can call it a plot) is pointless and the writing is sarcastic and juvenile. We are told by fans of the book that the author intended it to be read this way, as a clever statement about “the insanity of war.”
What a load of rubbish. War is ugly and brutal, but it is not “insane.” Many American wars were fought because people believed passionately in a noble cause and were willing to fight to defend that cause against those who would vanquish it. Among these were the Revolutionary War (democratic government), the Civil War (individuals’ rights vs. states’ rights) and World War II (the defeat of fascism). Catch-22 is an adolescent little book which is applauded by people who believe that nothing is worth fighting for.
Anybody mind if I break up the love-fest for this piece of anti-establishment drivel? Get serious folks. The premise of this book is based on three assumptions, all incorrect, which are as follows: (1) the military is evil, (2) any person in the military is an idiot, and (3) any person who mocks the military is heroic.
Please. This type of thinking went out with flower power and tie-dyed t-shirts. Get with the times, people. Vietnam is over.
I read this a few years ago as it was on a list of the best novels of the 20th century. Awful! While there are a few parts that are humorous, I thought the book as a whole was horribly tedious. If a student wrote a paper/essay like this he/she would get batted across the head. Verbosity reigns supreme in Heller’s work, with tedium a close second. The attempts at humor are feeble. I suppose in the interest of being well-read it might behoove some to read it…certainly not for enjoyment. A shame really, because the basic premise is interesting and, yes, thought provoking. Perhaps I am in the minority, but I don’t understand all the hype.
If Harry Potter is, as people claim it to be, one of the best books of all time, then this is its antithesis. Gather round muggles and read this review, or else the person that you’ve been dating will leave you for that professional football player and your parents and/or children will disown you and you’ll be forced to live in the basement with that balding, 43 year old starwars geek. Catch-22 is about John Yossarian. He’s an American soldier during WWII. However, don’t mistake this book for your average war literature, because it’s not. This book is CrAzY! From the get-go, you’ll be confused. Not because you can’t read but because the book isn’t in chronological order, which gives the impression that Joseph Heller was having a seizure while writing this book and the editors didn’t catch it. In my humble, yet clearly superior, opinion, this book is far too long and filled with meaningless content. There are some very important lessons to learn from the book, unfortunately, the book puts you to sleep before it can convey the moral of the story. You need to be some mythical, god-like English teacher to be able to finish this book without throwing it at the wall in frustration. The characters are insane, so insane that, at one point, I was actually wishing the German bombed the crap out of Yossarian and those around him. The book is funny. However, you need to be clinically insane to get most of the jokes, sadly, contrary to popular belief, I am not. Every time I read a piece of comedy from this book, the scene from Napolean Dynamite would flash in my head, where Napolean would slap someone on the cheek and run away. It’s funny but after a while it gets old and feels as though you’re being slapped on the cheek, which isn’t fun at all. The humor fails to salvage this poor book and only hard-core literature analyzers will appreciate it and call it a work of art. I say pass this book up and read that Harry Potter book again for the 34th time.
I forced myself to finish this book because it was heralded as “one of the greatest novels of the century.” I found it an amazing chore to trudge through page after page of absurd, repetitive babble, replete with needless descriptions of depraved immorality.
If the point is that government/military institutions are insanely inefficient and bureaucratic, ok. I got that in the first 100 pages. Were the next 400 pages simply meant to illustrate that point — making me “experience” the absurdity?. I really can’t believe I read the whole thing.
In all sincerity, I can not recommend this book.
I read this book and all I can say is…it was simply a disappointment. I realize it was satirical…however the characters seemed 2 dimensional and unrealistic, and after a while there behavior and responses were so predictable, I soon lost interest and the book became a slog. I personally feel if Joseph Heller wrote it later on in life he would have had more life experiences to draw upon and could have written a much better novel.
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