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Yossarian Slept Here

When Joseph Heller Was Dad, the Apthorp Was Home, and Life Was a Catch-22
Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller Was Dad, the Apthorp Was Home, and Life Was a Catch-22. S. & S. Aug. 2011. c.256p. photogs. ISBN 9781439197684. $25. LIT
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Catch-22 (1961) made Joseph Heller famous overnight. In this bittersweet memoir, his daughter (Splinters) recounts what it was like growing up in a family headed by this celebrity author. The very qualities that made him a success with Catch-22 (brilliant satirist; eccentric sense of humor) did little to promote understanding between father and admiring daughter, e.g., despite all evidence to the contrary, Heller insisted on celebrating Erica's birthday one month later than the actual date. As she matured, Erica struggled to understand her father and maintain a relationship with him in light of more serious offenses, e.g., a disparaging portrayal of their relationship in his second novel, Something Happened (1974) and his treatment of her mother after their divorce. Although dealing with painful issues, Erica's story is full of wit, enlivened by observant anecdotes about her larger family and her parents' friends. With the Upper West Side Apthorp apartments, where she was raised, as her backdrop, she also provides a nostalgic view of 1960s New York. VERDICT A rare combination of candor, humor, and compassion, this book is for all readers, especially of literary and family memoirs, and all fans of Heller. A fine combo with Tracy Daugherty's Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller.—William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Catch-22 (1961) made Joseph Heller famous overnight. In this bittersweet memoir, his daughter (Splinters) recounts what it was like growing up in a family headed by this celebrity author. The very qualities that made him a success with Catch-22 (brilliant satirist; eccentric sense of humor) did little to promote understanding between father and admiring daughter, e.g., despite all evidence to the contrary, Heller insisted on celebrating Erica's birthday one month later than the actual date. As she matured, Erica struggled to understand her father and maintain a relationship with him in light of more serious offenses, e.g., a disparaging portrayal of their relationship in his second novel, Something Happened (1974) and his treatment of her mother after their divorce. Although dealing with painful issues, Erica's story is full of wit, enlivened by observant anecdotes about her larger family and her parents' friends. With the Upper West Side Apthorp apartments, where she was raised, as her backdrop, she also provides a nostalgic view of 1960s New York.
VERDICT A rare combination of candor, humor, and compassion, this book is for all readers, especially of literary and family memoirs, and all fans of Heller. A fine combo with Tracy Daugherty's Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller.—William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY

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