Jake McCrary's Reviews > Something Happened

Something Happened by Joseph Heller
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really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, non-tech, read_2015

You should just read Kurt Vonnegut's review of this book instead of any other review. I can't imagine another review being as spot on as his. http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/02/15...

This book is long. It feels long. The book puts you inside Bob Slocum's head. Every interaction, every other character speaking, everything else is shown through Bob's perspective. He seems to be living the American dream. He has a family (a wife, a daughter, and two sons), a maid, a nurse, a nice house in a nice community. He has mistresses.

He is a character full of contradictions. He loves his wife, yet has mistresses and won't say "I love you." He craves a divorce but can't imagine not being married. He manipulates people at work. He refuses to be outwitted by his children. He ignores one of them. He has a general negative slant towards life; imagining the best times are past.

Below is a snippet from this book. It is a pretty good preview of the contradictions that appear within the same paragraph.


She feels she is not much good for anything; and she isn’t. But who cares? Who cares if she does not have any special aptitudes, talents, beauty, or social skills? She cares. (And perhaps I care. And my wife. And perhaps we have let her know we care. If we said to her that we did not care about things like that, she would say to us that we did not care about her at all. She knows all the tricks. How can I tell my daughter she is the most marvelous, beautiful teen-age girl in the whole world when we both know she isn’t? What answer can I give when she asks me how she compares to other girls who outshine her in one way or another?) She cares a great deal. (And so, perhaps, do I.)


The writing is humorous but the character is so unlikeable.

Nothing happens in this book. Then, suddenly, something happens and the book is over.

I really enjoyed this book. I felt that it dragged on but that dragging on somewhat helps you identify with Bob Slocum and his life is simply dragging on as well. The length of the book and repetitiveness of certain themes help illustrate the monotony of Slocum's life.
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Reading Progress

July 25, 2011 – Shelved
January 25, 2015 – Started Reading
February 4, 2015 – Finished Reading
February 5, 2015 – Shelved as: non-tech
February 5, 2015 – Shelved as: fiction
February 5, 2015 – Shelved as: read_2015

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