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.
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