Tag Archives: satire

29 Before 29: Read Catch-22

18 Dec

In my 29th year of life, I’m attempting to do 29 new things. Full List Here. All Bucket List Adventures Here.

catchI’ll come right out and say it. I didn’t finish it. I got a little over halfway through, and I found myself not wanting to pick it up. I found myself dreading my reading time and preferring to listen to “Should I Stay or Should I Go Now” on repeat until I had memorized the background Spanish vocals. La indecision me molesta. Si no me quieres, librame. I had to put the book down unfinished. I had to do it.

It’s not that I hated it. I think my problem with it was manifold. One, I expected too much. I’d heard it was the funniest book ever written, and I thought I was going to spend a lot more time laughing than I did. There were funny, satirical parts, for sure, but I wasn’t falling out of my chair. Two, it doesn’t have a plot, or at least a structured plot. The book weaves in and out of time, jumping from character to character, scene to scene. It’s hard for me to become invested in a book like that if I don’t have a story or an idea I’m following. Three, I tend to never like books about war. I’ve read a number of war classics, and they just don’t do it for me. It’s like Sci-Fi. It’s rare for me to find a book in the genre that pulls me in. I have never been able to put my finger on exactly why that is. Four, I got the point within the first couple of chapters. War is absurd! All of it. It is a surreal, weird thing to send a bunch of men to a foreign country to kill people in order to make diplomatic progress. Bureaucracy and government are likewise absurd. Joseph Heller does a marvelous job of satirizing this, but once I got his gist, I wanted to move on.

But, again, it’s not to say that I didn’t like it. His prose is stunning at times, and I was amazed at the variety of characters that he built. I adored the “Major Major Major Major” chapter. I just couldn’t finish it. 300 pages in, and I wasn’t invested in what happened. Plus with a January book club book on the way and this stack of beauties on my bedside table, I didn’t want to waste any more time on something that I felt I had to finish, that I was obliged to read. Life’s too short for that.

My darlings.

My darlings.