You Can’t Please Everyone – Catch-22

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.

after 100 pages, i stopped reading … for those who gave it 1 star, i agree … for those who gave it 5 stars, huh?

Why is this a so-called “classic”? Got me. I have no idea. Another reviewer said that you could skip chapters and not miss anything. I agree. I first attempted this novel a few years ago. I quit in less than 50 pages, so bored was I. I picked it up again recently, and I’m now less than 50 pages from finishing. What an unfulfilling reading experience this is. There is no central unifying theme or plot – other than that war is hell and the military rarely makes sense. But we knew that, right? As for the whole catch-22 business, sure, that is amusing the first twenty times, but it gets old quickly. This story could have been told in 50 pages and even that would have been too much.

Why then, if it is so bad, am I about to finish it? You know how it is. You start reading, and you become determined to complete it, just to say you did. There is no enjoyment in it though. I am looking forward to getting done so that I can read something else. My advice? Don’t read this novel. Read the ingredients on food packages in your cupboard instead. You’ll have more fun.

In my quest to read every “classic” work in history (seriously) I came across this supposed great work by Heller.

I always wonder what I am missing when the jacket calls the contents “hilarious” and hundreds of pages in, I have failed to ever crack a smile.

It’s the type of novel (like Ulysses) that I truly believe most people “like” because they think they should, rather than based on it’s actual contents.

It’s absurd, fine. And??? The characters are relentlessly stupid and I never felt, for a second, like I would ever want to have to do with them.

Yossarian dumps his bombs willy nilly (of course, nobody ever questions that he might be dropping them on civilians or that the bombers might have to go back to do the job he failed to, and thus present more risk to his fellow Americans) and sticks around sick bay. What a guy.


This is certainly one of the most over rated books of the 20th century. I had heard and read such glowing descriptions (And, in fact, the actual concept of Catch 22 is brilliant). However, the writing is so juvenile that I wish I had read it in Junior High instead of after college. Heller is seemingly willing to expend untold pages of drivel to bring off a joke, as in how Major Major became Major Major Major. This book would have been more powerful and more readable as a short story. 50 pages max. I had to force myself to plod through this sophomoric mess. When the war finally ended, no one in the book was more relieved than I.

I has read this novel for a English Class in collage and I found it absolutely mortifying. The psycho Yossarian with his flashbacks of memories and women who are protrayed at whores appaled me. I don’t recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t like idiotic scenes about nothing important.

I first read Catch-22 when I was in high school in the ’70s. I hated it. But throughout my life I kept bumping into people who worshiped this book as if it was a great missing chapter from the Bible. So, I recently decided to give it another try. I’m older and wiser now, I thought, so maybe I might finally “get” whatever it was I missed in the first reading decades ago. I should have stuck with my initial teenage impressions. This book bored me in ’70s and it still bored me in the ’90s. Great charactor names like… Major Major Major Major! Wow, that’s really funny! Whew! This book is a stinker. I don’t need Joseph Heller to tell me that war is hell. Why do you?

This novel is widely regarded as a comic masterpiece. The best I can say about it is that occasionally – and I mean once every hundred pages or so – it makes an acute observation about human nature, war, or bureaucracy. The satire in the rest of the book is too broad to be either funny or wise, and there is nothing here to make us care about the characters or what happens to them.

more of a modern day substance-less story… many charecter.. hard readering. i could have summerized the point in a bout half a sentence

Look, you’re a smart person. You know what you like and what you don’t like. Unless of course you say you liked this book. In which case I rescind my first statement. Just because some art freak with oily skin and a funny hat says a book is good, doesn’t make it an American classic. For lack of a better word, this book sucked.

Catch-22 is an anti-war book for the easily led and the ignorant. It’s for people who just say “War is bad” without really thinking about why it’s bad.

The book is basically Dilbert in World War II. As in the comic strip, all the people in charge are unbelievably stupid, don’t care about the people they command, and are extremely selfish. The common soldiers are of course much smarter than the commanding officers and try their hardest to get out of work. Their unwillingness to fight is justified (by the book, anyway) because their commanders are just so evil and stupid. Everyone’s behavior is cartoonish and annoying.

This edition of the book includes a preface by the author in which he, instead of saying anything useful, writes mostly about how everyone thinks his book is wonderful. Well, it’s not.

This is the most over-hyped book I have ever read. I forced myself through it, hoping it would get better, but it never did. It’s boring & difficult to read. I’m baffled by all the praise. Don’t do it!

The most overrated book I’ve ever read. Catch 22 is filled with unfunny, Abbott and Costello-like “Who’s on First?” dialogue that goes nowhere. Remember those old war movies wherein the acting was overly sappy and sub par? Well that’s Catch 22. You’ll find yourself getting the point, and tortuously trudging through several pages for the point to be complete.

A must read for insomniacs.

I know… it’s just me (it’s always just me), but please take heed, and special notice that “Catch 22” is written in the form of a diary. Just as “Dracula” is. It seems most people don’t mind the diary style, but I can’t get over it. It’s as though I’m reading someone else’s letters, and it doesn’t engage me at all. Take that for what it’s worth. I can’t get through “Dracula” either and that’s just as highly praised, if not more so than “Catch 22”.

This is a public service announcement from a reader who cares. Enjoy whatever it is you wish… as long as you’re reading!

I always wanted to read Catch 22 because it was a famous book (and of course the term was used in a Metallica song). I began reading it three times but after 50 pages or so, I always lost interest. I never could discover a story and the many dialogues and events are strange, to say the least. Someone once told me it is a great book after page 100 but I never got that far. So I can only say: don’t even try reading Catch 22′, read ‘1984’ by George Orwell and listen to Metallica.

I really don’t see what is the fun there except for the famous Catch 22 definition.