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Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

By Carrie | Books | July 10, 2009 |

By Carrie | Books | July 10, 2009 |

I officially give up.

Initially I was ‘just taking a break’ when I put the classic down and picked up another book. I had every intention (no, I swear!) of going back to Catch-22 and having another go. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood, maybe it needed more attention than my brain could give right now, a change is as good as a rest and all that.

Yeah…no. I’m not going back, and you can’t make me. I know, I’m a Philistine, string me up and beat me. I’m sure there are people out there (all five of you going by my stats) shaking your heads in disgust, unable to believe I haven’t relished this masterpiece. Look, you can keep it, it’s all yours, love it as much as you like. But I didn’t like it. And I could have struggled on for every page hating every goddamn word, not wanting to pick up the book, ignoring it, rereading pages after I realised I hadn’t taken a single word in, or I could admit defeat and be happy. It’s unusual for me to give up on a book, I generally keep going no matter how bad I think it is, because I like to finish what I’ve started. I think this book has changed that philosophy for me now. I just didn’t want to.

I guess I’ve missed the point, but I found the writing style very confusing, what with the billion new characters introduced every second line. And the writing itself was so heavy for me, I just felt weighed down and headachy with every word I read. Sure, there are touches of humour, but it all became so repetitive after a few pages even that couldn’t save it.

But the main thing, which is a really big problem: I just did not care. I didn’t care about anyone, not Yossarian or the umpteen other characters whose names I can’t remember who all seemed to speak the same and have the same personalities so they have become one tedious person in my mind. Nothing about any of it made me want to pick it up again once I’d put it down, and I missed that feeling, I missed the ‘Just one more chapter’ lie I tell myself as the clock ticks into the early hours and I don’t care that I have work in the morning.

Because surely, the whole point of reading is enjoyment? That’s why I read, because I enjoy it. I love it. I love getting lost in a good story and wrapped up in people’s lives, and all I could think of was the books I wasn’t reading, because I was forcing myself to read this instead. And why? What for? So I could join the ranks and say it’s the best thing since sliced bread? That it’s life changing? I’m afraid I can’t. And I’m really very OK with that.

This review is part of the Cannonball Read series. For more of Carrie’s reviews, check her blog, Teabelly’s Place.

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