NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Thursday, June 12, 2008


by Joseph Heller

Catch-22 is a M*A*S*H-like look at the atrocities and absurdities of war, the people who conduct them and the people who actually fight them, whether they want to or not.

This book is worth the time you spend during the first 1/3 or so of it wondering what on earth is going on. Stick with it! Once the back stories start getting filled in, it gets a lot easier to just sit back and enjoy the ride. In here are some of the funniest conversations I have ever read (such as when Major Major gives orders that no one is to see him in his office unless he's not in there). And, just like M*A*S*H, you can go from hysterical laughter to wide-eyed unbelief at what is happening so quickly that you'll wonder if you should have yourself checked for whiplash. Like all good books, you'll find yourself thinking about all the messages these characters have to pass on to us. It's no mystery to me why this book is studied, read and loved.


Just FYI -- There is a great article on Wikipedia that talks about concepts, themes, and has links to descriptions of who all the characters are to help you keep track of everyone. Also, for those interested in the continuing story, Heller did write a sequel entitled Closing Time: The Sequel to Catch-22.

Other reviews of Catch 22:

Lost In A Good Story
Trish's Reading Nook


Terri B. said...

I read this book sometime in the 80s and loved it. Yes, I spent the first 1/3 or so wondering what was going on! I'd never read anything like it at the time. I still have it since I know I'd like to read it again someday.

Jeane said...

I gave up before making it that far, because I couldn't figure out what was happening. It frustrated me! But you've actually convinced me (first of all the reviews/praises I've read of this book) that maybe I ought to re-attempt it. It was on my never-want-to-read list ha ha.

Anonymous said...

I read this MANY years ago and only because I hoped it would give me a good explanation of what a Catch-22 is. Great review. Just why is it on so many "I'll Never Read __" lists?

Tasha said...

I started reading this a few years ago and gave up because of that What is going on? feeling. It's still on my list of books to read , though, so I'll pick it up again eventually.

Lezlie said...

Terri ~ I can see myself returning to reread this also. Now that I know what's happening, I think I could appreciate the beginning more the second time around.

Jeane ~ I may have given up, but I was listening to the audio book on my commute, so it was a lot easier to persevere. I'm glad I did! And I think it's worth another try for you. It does get easier to understand. Honest!

BK Care ~ I think because the beginning is so hard to understand that people think the whole book will be that way. But as I continued on, it occurred to me that it all made about as much sense as war does in general.

Charley ~ I hope you do give it another chance. Let me know if you do!


Andi said...

OK, Lezlie, your MASH comparison is almost enough to convince me. I've been dragging my feet over Catch-22 for years, but you make it sound so very worthwhile.

Lezlie said...

Andi ~ Except for the fact that they fly bombers in "Catch-22" instead of perform surgery, the similarity was inescapable. The seeds for M*A*S*H had to have been planted by this book. I hope you like it, if you decide to go with it!


joanna said...

Hi Lezlie!
I'm glad you liked it, I knew you would! ;-)
Hope everything is good with you!

Lezlie said...

Hi, Joanna! I was just thinking about you this morning! I hope all is well with you also. I'm going to hook your review up to this one, if that's OK with you.


joanna said...

That's fine - I'll link to yours as well at some point, I'll get around to it soon, I promise! ;-)