I've been hearing about this book so long now, I finally decided it was time to pick it up and get it over and done with. Boy, am I glad I did. To me, Catch-22 is somewhat like marmite. You'll either love it or you'll hate it. There is no grey area. I happen to love it. This book is filled with so many colourful characters that you'll end up loving them all. You go through so many emotions that by the end of the book, you're exhausted. I grasped Heller's writing style right off the bat. He is a unique and clever writer.
The story follows Captain Joseph Yossarian, a US airman trying to survive the madness of the Second World War. I think it's a great depiction of modern mentality. Frankly, I don't think it's only the war that is insane ... Life itself is insane - a Catch-22, so to speak.
Much of the prose is repetitive, which would usually bother me, but I found it to be tolerable. The only problem I had was with the length of the book. The story dragged on at times, and I found I wanted to get through those parts quickly. It would have been better if the book was shorter. All the same, I found this read to be very refreshing, and I plan on reading it again someday.
One of my favourite lines from the book:
"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle."