Catch-22 is a 1961 satirical novel written by renowned author, Joseph Heller. The captivating book takes place on the island of Pianosa, near west Italy, during World War II. The main character, Yossarian, is a conflicted soldier desperately seeking to escape the war by any means necessary. Unfortunately, it becomes increasingly difficult to be discharged, forcing the protagonist to deal with the terrors of war, death of his comrades, and find new ways to deal with the stress. While this incredible literary piece has been around for almost 50 years, the comedy, gore, and satirical value is still relevant to readers in this generation.
Criticizing war, capitalism, the U.S., the military industrial complex, the military, the upper class, religion, and law, the book does it all in an ironic/comedic way, holding the reader onto every page. Nonetheless, as the story is absolutely hilarious and is basically just one big joke, Heller is not afraid to talk about serious topics that are still relevant today, such as the U.S. military’s treatment of civilians in the countries it occupies.
Though it is a difficult read due to the complexity of the story line and the developed vocabulary, the story is still a great American classic. Joseph Heller is able to vividly paint the absurdity of the military while depicting the sheer horror of war, all while making you laugh. Catch-22 proves to be an absolute delight to readers that take the time to read slowly and in depth. Overall, the intriguing novel receives a 4.5 out of 5, I would recommend to a friend.