A few days ago when I picked up the boy at school, he told me that one of his friends had read Catch-22. “She said it was funny, Dad. I want to read it.”
“Gosh, son,” I said, “I’m not sure that that book is appropriate for you at this point. Are you sure that she read it?”
“Yeah,” he said. “It’s about some rule that you can’t … well, I don’t remember, but she said it was funny. What’s not appropriate about it?”
“Well, I haven’t read it myself, but I know of it. I think I started it once but got fed up pretty early on. But knowing generally what it’s about, it probably has stuff in it that you’re not quite ready for.”
“You mean like sex stuff?”
“Yeah, that, but other stuff as well.”
What I was thinking was “Things like jaded post-war cynicism and absurd nihilism. Things you shouldn’t get into until you’re around 15 or so.”
“Tell you what,” I said. “Let me read it first, and after I’ve read it, I’ll let you know whether I think it’s OK for you. That sound like a good plan?”
“Yeah,” he said.
I picked it up at my favorite library, and read the first fifty pages or so before I got fed up with it.
But just as soon as I finish it, I’ll let the boy know whether he can read it.