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Book Reviews of Catch-22

Author: Joseph Heller
ISBN-13: 9780440111207
ISBN-10: 044011120X
Publication Date: 11/15/1974
Pages: 463
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 47 ratings
Publisher: Dell
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

30 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Catch-22 on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Well, I wanted to know where the phrase "Catch-22" came from. I consider myself a smart person, and I'm a copy editor by trade, but I tend to like books I can sort of be absorbed by, not books where you are constantly aware you are reading because you have to work at it. That's just my preference, maybe because I read plenty of boring things for a living and when I get my dinner break I want to read something else.
I thought this book was really amusing, and I generally enjoyed it. But I also felt it that it never fully pulled me in -- I was pretty much always aware that I was reading and never got lost in it.
It was weird for me that I could so much enjoy and dislike reading a book simultaneously. In the end, I quit reading it because I felt like there was no plot. Maybe one developed later, but the whole part I read was just talking about this character or that character -- if I had to tell you what was happening in the book, well, nothing was happening. So, as much as I hate to not finish something I've started, I had to heed my mother's advice: "Life's to short to read a bad book." I wouldn't call this a bad book by any means, but maybe not my style.
scrapbooklady avatar reviewed Catch-22 on + 472 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
"Catch-22" is a classic war satire and while some aspects of it are a little dated, it still rings very true in the contemporary political climate. Heller's characters are all quirky, intense and unique, but their conversations and actions really penetrate the absurdity of war and are very entertaining.
bup avatar reviewed Catch-22 on + 165 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I've noticed a lot of the reviews of this book mention that the person never finished the book - the usual petering-out point is about page 100.

And I can see why - there's a smug humor in the book that is just annoying by about that time. Well, really annoying by that time. For whatever reason (thanks be to God), Heller changes tack somewhere around there, and although it's still a lot of nonsense and surreal humor, and characters that are more caricature than human, at least it seems like the reader is no longer the butt of the joke.

I was ready to say this was the most cynical book ever, but then I finished it, and it's not. Also, while it's enjoyable and a must-read and blah-blah-blah, it does feel like different books at different points. Sometimes I felt like I was reading a Monty Python script, sometimes it was like "Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern," sometimes it was like a Dali dream sequence, and every once in a while it was just, you know, Hemingway or something.

I think I could really have used a study group or a college class to help me with this one. But I'm glad I read it anyway.
jeffp avatar reviewed Catch-22 on + 201 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Perhaps this was an important book when it was written, perhaps it was new and different, but I found it dull and not even remotely funny. It's supposed to be a classic, but it didn't even work as farce for me. I wish I felt differently. I wanted to like this book.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I started this book several times,losing interest before getting too far into it; when I committed to reading it I became hooked, & thoroughly enjoyed it. Really a very funny book.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 76 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The blackest of anti-war humor, bitter and invigorating as a triple shot expresso.
stacie avatar reviewed Catch-22 on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The novel is long, but contains a lot of humor and irony. For a war book, there isn't a lot of military action! Worth reading.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I read this book because a fellow-reader told me it was one of the greatest books ever written! Okay, so he exagerated. It is funny and clever and is responsible for making a permanent addition to American slang. I found it a bit confusing to follow all the characters, but, all in all, it was a good read.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Both humorous and deadly serious. Some say it is the beginning of postmodernism in fiction. The scene where Yossarian walks the streets of Rome is worth the price of admission.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 86 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The classic illustration "darned if you, and darned if you don't."
reviewed Catch-22 on + 24 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
It felt like Joseph Heller was trying too hard to show war as crazy, outrageous, and mad in a frenetic dark comedy. Like someone trying hard to be witty and crazy, but comes across like he's begging like a dog for a pat on the head for his cleverness. Perhaps in its day it was unique, but I just kept trying again and again to like the book, but I finally gave up as a waste of my time. Overall, there were one of two funny moments like like when chief described how where everywhere his people settled, oilmen followed them around and discovered oil, but mostly it was uneventful. Only made it about 1/3 of the way through.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 146 more book reviews
I enjoyed this book but found it hard to read. It is about a man named Yossarian who is just trying to stay alive during World War II. Each chapter is named after a different person and in the chapter they explain their side of the story. A couple of times you will read the same storyline from a different point of view. AT times the dialog is hard to follow, but after a few chapters you get used to it. It took me a long time to read, but I can see why it is on the list of the 100 great books of the 20th century. I am so glad that the U. S. Military does not really operate like they do in this book, or we may have not won World War II.
Readnmachine avatar reviewed Catch-22 on + 1439 more book reviews
Heller's classic novel of the brutal insanity of war and of the iconoclastic Yossarian, who wants only to go home, clearly shows itself to be the spiritual parent of M*A*S*H. In both, the only way to remain sane is to be even crazier than the people around you. Heller's aim is unerring as he punctures overinflated military egos and exposes a system designed as much to destroy its own soldiers as those of the enemy. Frightening, funny, delightful, and gruesome by turn, it really is must-reading.
katethegreat avatar reviewed Catch-22 on + 69 more book reviews
This is a very funny and sometimes sad book. It is a great read!
reviewed Catch-22 on + 495 more book reviews
The classic anti-war novel
brittab avatar reviewed Catch-22 on + 9 more book reviews
Not sure why this is such a classic, Did not get through half way. Convoluted story telling, didn't see/get the plot, if there is any. There are other books by Heller that I like better.
eadieburke avatar reviewed Catch-22 on + 1612 more book reviews
Book Description
Fifty years after its original publication, Catch-22 remains a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest--and most celebrated--books of all time. In recent years it has been named to "best novels" lists by Time, Newsweek, the Modern Library, and the London Observer.

Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy--it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he's assigned, he'll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.

My Review
Joseph Heller is a great story teller. This book was very funny with a very good message about how pointless it can be to fight for a cause. The characters are unforgettable and the reader is able to sympathize with Yossarian, the main character. Catch 22, in my opinion, is a masterpiece of social satire and a very humorous look into the face of death. If you haven't read it, you should because it is a very enjoyable read.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 38 more book reviews
Dark comedy on WW2.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 133 more book reviews
Read too many years ago to count but I enjoyed it emmensely!
reviewed Catch-22 on + 15 more book reviews
I read this book shortly after the movie came out. I was hoping the book would make sense of the movie. The book turned out to be as confusing as the movie plus it was long winded and boring.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 6 more book reviews
You'll want to read it twice.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 711 more book reviews
There's only one catch---Catch 22! It's a legal loophole that means just when you're sure you've lose! Catch 22 is as revealing today as when it was first published. Otrageous, bawdy, hilarious, it expresses the concerns of an entire generation in its black comedy and "Catch 22" has stepped into our language to stand for all the absurdities of our age.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 4 more book reviews
I couldn't get more than 25 pages into this book. Frankly I think the author was drunk/high when he wrote it. I got it because some newspaper touted it as a top 10 book to read, but the only reason I could see it being recommended was it would likely be more appealing to those that enjoy snarky, "anti-establishment" types of writing.

I'll bring this to 1/2 price books after it ages on here for a year
reviewed Catch-22 on + 169 more book reviews
It took me 5 months to get through this book - in the meantime I read 9 other books. I just could not get "hooked". I found it very confusing as characters are introduced and then don't show up again for a long time. And each time a character reappears, only a little more is revealed - very frustrating. There were some humorous parts and some very sad parts. It was a scathing commentary on war and the futility of war, but I did not enjoy the book.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 22 more book reviews
Funny at times, though I can't give it the accolades it receives from the scholarly sector.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 11 more book reviews
I have tried three times to finish this but I just cannot stay interested in it long enough. I keep waiting for it to become interesting
kentuckygirl avatar reviewed Catch-22 on + 19 more book reviews
a classic
reviewed Catch-22 on + 25 more book reviews
Excellent, weird and funny.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 27 more book reviews
The writing overpowered the story. Didn't finish it.
reviewed Catch-22 on + 9 more book reviews
Must read for anyone who has any slight understanding of the English language.