Thursday, June 14, 2012

Slaughterhouse-Five: A Book Review

There will be no spoilers in this review. Enjoy. (:

Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five is a book that explores the effects that war can have on a generation. His narrator tells the story of a fellow war-mate, Billy Pilgrim, and how a traumatic bombing in the war has affected their lives. The story is a compilations of scenes that move back and forth through time, and I enjoyed putting all the pieces in chronological order. I am not typically a fan of war books or movies, but I have to admit that I am left amazed by Vonnegut. His words are powerful, his characters memorable.

(photographed: Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five on my Kindle)

Some lines are heartbreakingly comical.

"This, too, was the tile of a book by Trout, The Gutless Wonder. It was about a robot who had bad breath, who became popular after his halitosis was cured...Trout's leading robot looked like a human being, and could talk and dance and so on, and go out with girls. And nobody held it against him that he dropped jellied gasoline on people. But they found his halitosis unforgivable. But then he cleared that up, and he was welcomed to the human race."

Some are simply comical.

"All this responsibility at such an early age made her a bitchy flibbertigibbet."

And the majority, is just heartbreaking.

"There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One main effect of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters."

Whatever the line may be, it's that perfect mixture of dark humor that makes Vonnegut place a character in moment so well. I like Billy Pilgrim. I'm annoyed by Billy Pilgrim. I feel deeply sorry for Billy Pilgrim. But I suppose only strong novels that can summon those types of emotions.

"Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is."

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