Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Catch-22 (Catch-22, #1)Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book is supposed to be some sort of classic. I first heard about it in high school, as some classes were assigned it as required reading, although I never was. It had sat on the edge of my awareness, and I had even used the colloquialism "Catch-22" from time to time in common language to describe events where the results of an action would undermine or invalidate the reason for taking the action in the first place. And then it was chosen for a book club I am in, and I read the book.

This book is a heap of rubbish. Sure there are opportunities to discuss human nature here and there, but all of the characters and situations are so far fetched and extremely fictional that it isn't a discussion of human nature at all. The characters aren't human. In mind-numbingly stupid scene after scene, characters are faced with insanity and the author plays at making rational decisions in the face of insanity. The whole thing is a dumpster fire.

How could there have been value here? If any of these situations were real situations, with actual people and organizations trying to make decisions in them, then there would be potentially valuable topics for discussion here. But that isn't the case.

On top of the insanity that this book is trying to pass off as human behavior, it is coated in a layer of immorality that doesn't need to see the light of day. I thought that the constant objectification of women was a thing of the past? If it is, then this book should be cleared off the shelves. Prostitution, casual sexual encounters, and general abuse are just where it starts. The book itself objectifies female characters often by not bothering to give them names or identities as characters outside of their roles as objects for the men to use. If you step back you will find that there was not a single female character of note in the whole book. Nurse Drucker is as close as it came, yet our introduction to her was in the form of a sexual assault by our supposed protagonist. So her character is unraveled by taking the abuse and forming a romantic relationship with her abuser.

This book is awful, and it depresses me to think that so many of our children have been required to read this in our school system. I'm generally not an advocate for censorship, but I am an advocate for education, and from that standpoint this book is worthless.