Abandoned Read: Catch-22

I’m so ashamed. I think this is the third time this year that I am considering abandoning or full on walking away from, a book.

I’ve never had a year where I’ve made so many wrong book choices for myself! Or for other people! First there was the debacle with The Prague Cemetery. Then I was seduced by Michael Fassbender and decided to read the book before seeing the movie and A Dangerous Method! Oh man! I could NOT get through it. And I tried twice. I still haven’t seen the movie, having been completely scarred by the non-awesome of the book.

And now! Worst of all, I have abandoned a classic.

Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 is hailed as an American masterpiece. The title has worked itself into our lexicon, so important and groundbreaking and masterful is this work. Every time I chose another book over it, I felt a little stab of guilt. It was just sitting there all blue and 50th Anniversary like. So when I finished My Life in France I thought that I should probably finally devote myself to Catch-22.

For those of you that have not had the (non) pleasure, Catch-22 is the story of World War II pilots stationed in Italy. Their commander keeps raising the number of missions needed to be eligible to go home and the men are all starting to lose their minds. The premise of the book centres on this ridiculous rule, the Catch-22 that says that a man is considered insane if he willingly flies these missions, but if he requests not to fly, to be removed from duty because the mission is so dangerous, then he is proven sane and ineligible for grounding.

Amazing right?

Except I got 150 pages in and I still had no idea what was happening most of the time. I felt no affinity for any of the characters, I was mostly annoyed by their conversations which tended to go round and round without saying anything at all. It’s the kind of book that I just know my brother will love and I will most likely just give it to him so that I don’t have to keep looking at this book that I never read. It will haunt me like the Tell-Tale Heart.

I never make book abandonment decisions lightly. In this case I consulted a few friends and the authority of Goodreads.com to see if I was the only reader not smart enough to get this book. I’m not. And when my friend told me that he had read the book but it took him a long time and he didn’t like it, that pretty much sealed the deal for me.

I have since tucked the offending book high up on my shelves in the hopes that I won’t notice it much until I give it to my brother. In the meantime I have begun reading a seriously disturbing book about a serial killer in Nazi-occupied Paris. Delightful.

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