Whenever I am asked the question ‘What is your favourite novel ever?’ Catch-22 has invariably been my answer. This year marks 50 years since its publication, and I thought now would be the perfect time to revisit the book and see whether or not I still love it as much as I did when I first read it.
I read Catch-22 in the summer holidays between graduating High School and beginning University. Oh it was a special kind of joy to read, read, read to my heart’s content and not have to study what I read. Just read, immerse myself, enjoy. I could (and sometimes did) read all day (most likely, at that age, after a lovely sleep in until 11, 12 maybe 1 PM. (Oh the luxury! Present me is very envious of past me right now.)
I was 18 years old, not nearly confident enough within myself, far too reliant on alcohol in social situations, often questioning myself with ‘How can I be myself when I don’t know who I am?’ and thinking I was so profound, congratulating myself on my own cleverness instead of actually trying to seek an answer. I was excited as to what the future held. I was getting out of my home town at last. The world, as they like to say, was at my feet.
I was a typical 18 year old. I knew everything. I knew nothing.
I remember the book, although not in any great detail. I remember loving it. I remember loving how clever it is. How different it is. How well-written it is. I only read it once.
So what I want to find out is this;
Will I still love it now?
Now, eleven-and-a-half years later, will I still enjoy my favourite book as much as I did when I was 18 years old, curled up in my bedroom in a small country town during a hot, hot summer that bridged the gap between childhood and my adult life?
Now, as a happy wife, happy mum (18 yr old me would have never believed I would be married-with-kids before 30!) will I still get what I did out of Catch -22 on that first reading?
Is our enjoyment of certain books coloured by the stage of life we are at? Or are there true classics you will love no matter what? I believe there to be certain books that resonate with the spirit and that can be enjoyed no matter what age and stage you read them at.
But will Catch-22 be one of those novels?
I will let you know.