This blogger read the book, “Yossarian Slept Here” by Erica Heller, published in 2011. This is the author’s autobiography. She is the daughter of a one-hit wonder novelist, whose book “Catch-22” is now fading in the public’s memory. Heller herself admits she still has yet to actually read the book.
The meaning of the phrase “catch-22” is still well-known– an ironic situation; for example: an inexperienced new graduate who is seeking employment cannot obtain it because employment is the only way to obtain experience, but obtaining employment requires experience.
Heller’s life is typical for her generation of a particular population segment– coming of age in the New York of the early 1960’s in an Upper West Side family which was financially comfortably well off. They dined out frequently, vacationed in Europe and in the Hamptons, and she attended a private school. For an unexplained reason, she fails almost entirely to acknowledge her younger brother’s existence. She also mentions the religion with which she identifies (Jewish) only in passing– perhaps because her having a Jewish last name creates instant bias.
The topic areas Heller turns to again and again, however, are: the building in which her family resides, the famous people her father knew, and her active involvement in her parents’ lives and how they emotionally manipulated her.
Read the book to learn about the rifts in the relationships among and between Heller, her mother and father, and the serious illnesses suffered by each of them through the years, coping with their “catch-22” contradictions.