Week 3: Catch-22 Review

Hey readers! Stop right there! I know what you’re thinking. Catch-22? Such an old classic, why would I want to review this, right? Well, how can I not? Catch-22 is one of the best classics I’ve ever read. What I’m so ashamed of is that this book had been carrying dust on my bookshelf since the past three months. Catch-22, set in the timeline of the Second World War, engulfs its reader with the lives of the air fighters belonging to an American war squadron. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not one of those monotonous war dramas. Before I go ahead and review this book it’s imperative that you grasp the meaning of its title. What is Catch 22?

The air fighters, bombardiers and soldiers their of the 256th squadron of the Army Air Forces are entitled to complete a given set of combat missions before they are allowed to go home. But this wasn’t so simple. There was a catch. Catch-22! While the law stated that the men were allowed to go home after they complete their missions, the men were also supposed to obsequiously follow all orders of their superiors no matter what those orders were and this was the catch! Men in the squadron kept completing the requisite combat missions for them to go home and their squadron commander, Colonel Cathcart, a greedy man who didn’t care about the army-men’s lives, kept increasing the combat missions in hope of achieving that what he coveted the most – becoming a General.

What’s so unique about this book is that all of its pages have been written with a tinge of sarcasm and humour. Joseph Heller’s sardonic writing style is just impeccable. I don’t I’ve ever chuckled so much while reading a book and I literally grew up reading comics. The book depicts different mindsets of different people in the squadron. While it aches your heart to read about the plight of bombardiers like Yossarian, it brings you immense joy to see what goes on inside the heads of the superior commanders. This satirical work of fiction is so marvellous that it was capable of making an incident as sorrowful as the World War, humorous.

As you read the book you’ll realise, there’s a catch in almost everything the army-men do and that is always Catch-22. Dreading being court-martialled , the men are afraid of standing up for themselves and refusing to fly more combat missions. Yossarian, however, showed the courage and steps up to face the wrath of Colonel Cathcart. In a world where everyone talks about patriotism and sacrifice, all Yossarian longs for is home and he has been denied that longing since forever. And the combat missions kept increasing. Forty to forty five, forty five to fifty, fifty to fifty five and so on!

Another thing I particularly liked about the book was that usually whenever we read a book we’re curious of what will happen at the end, 9 times out of 10. While reading this book, my intention wasn’t to just haphazardly finish it and quench my curiosity, it was the total opposite instead. I could effortlessly grasp the essence of the book and read it in the moment.

How will Yossarian get home? How will he face everyone? How will he face Colonel Cathcart? Will he get court-martialled? What will be his fate? What will happen to his friends?

I would recommend reading this book, irrespective of the genres you usually read. This book is one of a kind and makes you laugh your brains out. This witty dramedy is commendable and out of the world.

My rating: 9.5/10

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