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Customer Review

138 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cynical analysis of any war, March 3, 2000
This review is from: Catch-22 (Hardcover)
I would first like to inform other reviewers that I am a high school junior, read this as part of a choice novel project, and had no trouble grasping the ideas that Joseph Heller presented within his Catch-22.
The sarcastic attitude of this novel is conspicuous, and all bonds with reality are dropped with the first character introductions. The humor that has previously been criticized I found to be easy to understand, not monotonous, and a unique aspect to illustrate WW2. This is not to say the humor is for all, because Heller uses many paradoxes (look up definition of "catch-22"), simple one line contradictions, and subtle word choices to draw a laugh-all which represent the personality of the novel.
Yes, there are many characters, probably over fifty, yet grasping the names is not important at all times. Of course you quickly get associated with Yossarian and the other main characters, and chapter do reintroduce people from the early parts of the book. This may be annoying, yet each character is distinct, and there is little chance of confusing Milo, and entrepeneur, with Havermeyer, the elite pilot. In truth, the novel lacks a linear time, but chooses, rather, to define the novel through numerous character sketches, focusing them loosely around Yossarian. By the later chapters of the novel, Heller subtly introduces the gruesome truths of the war, balancing the early humor with more realistic look. It is through this transition that the weight of the situation is elucidated, and by contrasting the final chapters with the first, Heller is able to attract our attention and force us to analyze the war.
What is the novel about? There is no simple answer, yet if I attempt to state it in a single sentence Catch-22's theme, it would be "The only true fault of America's once the war began, was that we as a nation began to glorify war, without truly understanding the implications of our actions."
What is the idea behind catch-22 as a statement? Read the book. Enjoy. Open your eyes with laughter and tears. Perhaps you won't like the satirical tone, but I would suggest to all that you try.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 13, 2010 11:45:35 AM PDT
Hell of a review by a high school junior (by now gainfully and happily employed, I hope).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2011 2:05:05 PM PST
I was thinking the same thing. Awesome!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2011 10:13:46 PM PDT
Excellent review!

Posted on Apr 23, 2012 10:57:48 PM PDT
Y. Reed says:
Believe it or not adults like to see young minds stand out. Job well done. And hope you continue with your points of view in published form.

Posted on May 28, 2016 7:47:08 PM PDT
It's also an indictment of the politicians and generals and admirals that send young people to fight in wars.
This quote kind of sums it up:
"I suppose you just don't care if you lose your leg, do you?"

"It's my leg."

"It certainly is not your leg!" Nurse Cramer retorted. "That leg belongs to the U.S. government. It's no different than a gear or a bedpan. The Army has invested a lot of money to make you an airplane pilot, and you've no right to disobey the doctor's orders." (26.55-57)

Hope you've kept your love of reading and questioning of authority into adulthood. I had been a paid writer for 10 years when you wrote that back as a junior in high school. I've read it, probably, 30 times, and seeing your review is going to move it back to the top of my to-read pile.
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