When the show is so much better than the book

Regular readers of Hogglestock will know how much I disliked the book Catch-22. It was one of the Modern Library’s top 100 novels of the 20th century and so I attempted to read it years ago when I was making my way through that list. I got about 250 pages in and wanted to throw the book across the room. But it was a library book, so I just returned it. It was a little too satirical and madcap. Like an Abbott and Costello routine meets the satirical novels of Evelyn Waugh. But for whatever reason, I picked it up again in 2013 and managed to make my way to the end despite really, desperately, wanting to abandon it at almost the same exact point I had previously.

Fans of the novel Catch-22 seem to have been less than impressed by Hulu’s version. And TV critics seem to have found it less than perfect as well. But I thought it was great TV. And it did something that Heller’s novel  didn’t do for me: it made me laugh, and it moved me more than a little.

If you have six hours on your hands, put the Heller down and turn on the TV.

6 thoughts on “When the show is so much better than the book

  1. David Nolan (David73277) September 30, 2019 / 1:54 pm

    I didn’t like the book or the TV show. I think I gave up both of them at roughly the same point in the story. Aside from not finding it funny, in either version, it is hard to put my finger on exactly why I did not like it, but perhaps not finding it funny is sufficient explanation in itself.

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  2. Ruthiella September 30, 2019 / 4:24 pm

    I will probably also give the show a miss anyway but like you, I did not enjoy the book. Humor is tricky! I also disliked A Confederacy of Dunces which other readers find hilarious.

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  3. Richard October 1, 2019 / 8:50 pm

    Am I the only person who likes both the book and the show?

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  4. lethe October 2, 2019 / 8:24 am

    I hated the book, but I loved the 1970 film.

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  5. Ti October 3, 2019 / 12:58 pm

    Mu book club tried to read Catch-22 once and we literally DID throw it across the room.

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  6. Annie October 5, 2019 / 2:56 pm

    I loved the Hulu series! And, like you, I also had to force my way through the novel until I gave up. I’m so glad that the Hulu series was made and that it was so good. I feel like I don’t need to read the book to get Yossarian’s amazing story.

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