Catch-22 (#25)

As part of My List, I listed to read Catch-22. As an English major, you would think that I would have already read this at some point.

Somewhere along the lines, I didn’t. I don’t know why. Maybe I took all the wrong courses, I’m not sure. But I wanted to read this book because it is such an important book. Everyone seems to know it and it’s considered a great classic by the English pundits.

The book is on the longer side, it’s about 450 pages long. It’s very character driven. I will definitely say that. Most of the chapters/chapter titles are names of characters and their story of how they got where they are and what part they play in the book.

The book centers around bombadiers who are flying during the war. All of the characters are constantly faced with death; anyone could die on their next flight or even when grounded. How each of them handles this fear differs from each person and all of them are more or less insane in one way or another. Whether it’s the constant fear of dying that drives them mad or if they were mad to begin with, it doesn’t really matter in terms of their actions.

The ‘catch-22’ arises throughout the whole book because there’s not just one simple circle of logic that arises in life. First off, a catch-22 is one in which the logic just goes in circles. It’s not one of those, ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ sort of logics but rather one of the famous ones of employment for those who are seeking their very first job. Most employers want experience but as a starter, you don’t have experience. So, the catch-22 is: how do you get experience without experience?

The same goes with flying in the war: You have to be sane in order to fly, but to fly you must be crazy; to admit that you are crazy is a sane action; therefore, you are sane and can fly.

Circular logic.

The book overall is a really great read. It’s just off the wall crazy and scatter-brained and it’s got some great stories in there from the characters. They are all very unique and interesting. It’s just a great collection of stories and experiences. It’s also very symbolic and definitely makes you think about how things are working for those in war and what they experience. The second half of the book is definitely more serious than the first half; I think you get a better understanding of war in the second part. The last few chapters things really come together. I, personally, was left with a sense of resolve. I know that many people hate it when the ending is sort of just left open. I don’t think that this is one of those endings, but… maybe that’s just me.

All in all, I think it’s a terrific read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a story to keep them occupied and interested.

Happy readings!

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One thought on “Catch-22 (#25)

  1. My absolute favourite book! The only book to make me both laugh and cry until I hurt! Glad to hear you enjoyed it. 🙂
    Interestingly, I agree with you on the ending, I think it’s great. I love that after one of the most emotionally intense chapters (the one on Snowden), the book ends on a comical note, yet at the same time that very final image had me looking at the page with my jaw hanging open for a few seconds when I first read it.
    Sadly, Heller’s other books aren’t as good (although Closing Time, the sequel to Catch-22 written and set several decades later, was okay). But I do like Heller’s response to when somebody said to him “You’ve never written a book as good as Catch-22,” to which he simply replied “Who has?” 😉

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