It's hard to express in words exactly why I believe this book is such an important read. Ironically, that is one of the major themes from the book. It deals greatly with holism vs. reductionism. I can see quite patently that the whole of GEB is greater than the sum of it's chapters.
Should you decide to read GEB I suggest that you read the entire work. Due to its length it's probably one of the most half-read books of our time. Many of the people that recommended the book to me said things like, "It's a great book! Though I only read the first (x) pages". Strangely enough I did meet one person who said they read the entire work in 18 hours straight.
No matter how long it takes if you stick with it you will be rewarded many times over. It took me 3 months and I confess there were indeed times in which I felt I was understanding very little. However, time after time, I would reach a point where things started weaving together in the sort of "Eternal Golden Braid" that I believe Hofstadter intended. I venture to say that, while you may indeed walk away with completely different insights about the book's "meaning", your experience will be quite similar.
"But you don't have to take my word for it..."