October 2010 Archives
Joseph Heller's Catch-22 is one of the funniest books I have ever read. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much out of it. I usually dread picking up a book about war because I think that it will probably be depressing and go into detail about fighter planes and battle formations which I have no interest in. Quite the contrary, Catch-22 surpassed my expectations. Catch-22 isn't laugh-out-loud funny. It contains a lot of irony and more subtle humor. One example is when the main character, Yossarian, wonders why he has to keep flying missions. He wants his friend, Doctor Daneeka, to ground him so that he won't have to fly anymore, but he can't be grounded because of something called a "Catch-22". As Heller explains to the reader, "If he flew [the missions] he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to, he was sane and had to" (46). I love this because it is such a ridiculous paradox.
Another part I thought was funny was a description of the unfortunately-named Major Major. "Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest..." (83). Heller manages to make this reference to Shakespeare's The Twelfth Night hilarious just by changing a few words. Heller's brilliance and subtle humor make Catch-22 a fantastic book that everyone should read.
I would recommend this book to anyone in high school. Although I'm sure younger students could enjoy it, the high vocabulary might get in the way of their full understanding of the book. Catch-22, although about the war, has great vocabulary, as well as relations to every day life, and is full of humor to contrast the depressing situation of those who serve in the military.
Rating: Love it
Thanks Klara for your enthusiastic review.
How about the rest of you? Got some titles you like that you want others to hear about? If so, click here to submit your reviews.
The Young Adults Books Central site is, in its own words, "a place for people who love books." YABC offers book reviews, interviews with and bios and bibliographies of authors, industry news and press release updates. It also invites teens to submit their own suggestions for titles to be reviewed and added to YABC's online directory. And there's free book and other contest giveaways too!
This is a great source to read interviews with such writers as Stephanie Meyer and Clive Barker, among others. Plus you can read excerpts from previously published titles as well, which can help if you're not sure which title is right for you. For more info about YABC, click here.