Yossarian is a soldier fighting in Italy during World War II who is angry about all the people who are trying to kill him, especially in his own army where more and more flight missions are being added every day. But Yossarian finds himself in the middle of a Catch-22: if he requests to be grounded and returned home, he must be sane enough to keep flying missions, which is an action only someone who is insane would do.
Although it took me a long time to read through Catch-22, I have to say that I really enjoyed the story. The officers and the circumstances they are put in were a bit silly at times, which made the book entertaining, but these moments were matched with plenty of serious, down-to-Earth moments that show the dangers and consequences of war. The story tends to jump around a bit, and tells of some of the same instances from different points of view, but what I liked about that was each point of view added more to the side story being told and then veered off to another side story which all came together in the end to help form the overall plot. The best part: it wasn’t confusing. Heller did an amazing job at keeping each story moving and coherent so it’s easy to recall when it’s being retold. I would say my only issue with the book was that I thought there were a lot of characters to keep up with and I had a tendency to mix some of them up, most notably Major Danby and Dunbar, which is probably because their names have a lot of the same letters in them.
For me, Catch-22 was a book I had to read when I was completely awake. I usually like to read for a bit before bed, but I noticed when I would sit to read this one at night I would fall asleep within a few pages. That’s not saying that the book was bad or boring: when I was alert and awake I enjoyed the story a lot. I think it was because the story is pretty dense. Catch-22 is not a book that’s a breeze to read through. It involves a lot of connecting stories and thinking and understanding to really get the overall meaning of what Heller is getting at. But it is definitely worth the read.