Samuel Miller

No Laughing Matter by Joseph Heller

NO LAUGHING MATTER, co-written by CATCH-22 author Joseph Heller and his friend, Speed Vogel, is a fascinating look at Heller's bout with Guillian-Barre Syndrome, a debilitating neurological condition that can quickly kill or cripple. Heller was lucky in that he was diagnosed almost immediately and got the best treatment available. Even at that it took him a couple years to get back to near-normal again. Heller and Vogel write alternating chapters in this memoir, which works fairly well, although it is obvious that Heller is the writer. Vogel, a friend of over twenty years, stuck by Heller throughout his ordeal, taking over all his business and financial dealings for him and visiting him faithfully. (Heller was going through a divorce at the time he was stricken. He later married one of his G-BS nurses.)

It's highly probable that I found this book even more interesting than I might have, because I'd just finished reading Roger King's LOVE AND FATIGUE IN AMERICA, an 'autobiographical novel' about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), which mimics many of the same symptoms as G-BS. This is the first Heller book I've read since his other memoir, NOW AND THEN, a few years back. Although Heller ended up writing several novels, he is most famous for that first one, CATCH-22, now considered a classic. I tried to read a couple of his other books, but never could finish them. I would, however, recommend this book (as well as his other memoir) to anyone who is a fan. Joseph Heller died in 1999. ( )
TimBazzett | Mar 26, 2014 |

Source: No Laughing Matter by Joseph Heller | LibraryThing

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