Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Catch-22" by Joseph Heller

I thought I had read Catch-22 my junior year of high school in crazy Mrs. Van Patten's class, but when it came up as a selection of the month in the Most Awesome First Saturday Book Club sometime during its heyday between March 2001 and June 2006, I decided we must not have actually read the book in high school. I wonder if the teacher just explained the concept of a catch-22 to us and read a few excerpts from the book? Because I remembered a few passages in the book as clear as day, but the rest of it seemed completely new to me, and I don't think I can chalk that up to my regular "literary amnesia." Not only that, but when I come across the adult language and situations in the book (mostly centering around naked whores) I have a feeling I would never have read this book in high school, if only because all of the teachers knew my parents would never allow it.

Just a few months ago a friend mentioned she was re-reading this book, and then recently my husband picked it up and forced himself to slog through it. So when I found myself with nothing to read (which was not exactly true; I had 3 or 4 half-read issues of National Geographic to catch up on, and a stack of books my mom gave me for Christmas which are all sadly and characteristically books that hold no interest for me) and saw this book was still out (since of course my husband never puts anything away), I picked it up. By the time I was about 1/4 of the way through it, I was sorely tempted to call my aforementioned friend on the phone, say "T. S. Eliot", and hang up. I was dying to know if she would figure out who had called and return the favor, but I never did try it.

This book was just as I remember from reading it for Book Club. It varies from humorous (one of my favorite parts being the chocolate covered cotton idea) to Too Ridiculous To Even Be Funny, with a little tragedy mixed in (the one that stuck with me most was Kid Sampson being sliced in half by a propellor).

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

TS Eliot! I might have gotten it after a bit!!
The propellor was a favorite scene for me too. I was laughing out loud. God, is that so strange to laugh at a horrific death but it just hit me that way, as did most of the book.

Aloha Rob said...

Classic book.