Joseph Heller’s 1974 bestseller Something Happened is a long-winded tale told by a mid-level, mid-career company man, Bob Slocum.
Bob talks like a bright sixth grader, bubbling with joy at potty jokes and inserting “ha, ha” to show when he’s trying to be funny.
Bob had an unhappy childhood, which set the tone for an unhappy life.
Bob became a man in a gray flannel suit who wants desperately to have an even better suit, which he probably won’t get, and even if he did it probably wouldn’t fit right, but he shouldn’t worry about the suit because nothing ever goes right for him and he’s already 40 and he has an unhappy wife and an unhappy teenage daughter, and preteen son who is a mess of insecurities and a brain damaged son who will never mature beyond a five-year-old’s level.
Bob knows he’s a revolting individual, but he is convinced he’ll never change.
Heller takes readers through 560 pages of Bob’s narcissistic monologues, coming back again and again to the same stories and observations that were boring the first time.
Then on page 561, something happens.
By that time, readers will be a numb as Bob is.
Something Happened by Joseph Heller
Knopf, 1974, [1st ed.] 569 p.
1974 bestseller #5. My grade: C
© 2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni