Slaughterhouse Five

I read a lot of popular fiction.  I love fantasy books, and I enjoy science fiction books a lot.  I also try, from time to time, to read some of the books that are highly regarded by many people.  Some of these books I’ve enjoyed, some of the books I can understand why they are classics, even if I didn’t personally care for them, and some books I really don’t understand why they are so highly regarded.  Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five is considered one of the most highly regarded books, appearing on several lists of the best English language books of all time.  Having read it today, I just don’t get it.

Book Stats

215 pages (paperback)

Science Fiction? Satire? I’ve seen it called both of those, Amazon calls it Science Fiction, I’m labeling it under Classic and Science Fiction

Stand alone book

Characters

The book is told from the perspective of the author of the book, and the book is well aware that it is a book.  The central character of the book is Billy Pilgrim, a man who lived through WW2 and the book tracks his life before and after the war.  The book also talks about several other characters that Billy meets throughout the book, none of the characters are terribly deep.

Setting

The book takes place during WW2 in Germany, on the alien planet Tralfamadore, where the aliens see all of time at once, it’s weird sounding, and it’s even weirder in the book.

Plot

When Billy is abducted by the aliens of Tralfamadore, he learns to go through time and experience the events of his life out of order.  The book talks a lot about war, and how horrible it can be.

Enjoyment

I guess I just didn’t get it.  This book is regarded as a great antiwar book, and I can see that it pokes fun at war, but it just didn’t work for me.  The humor in the book was there the whole time, but it just wasn’t all that funny to me.  There was also something in the book that drove me crazy as I kept reading it.  It seemed like every other page (if not more often) Vonnegut would punctuate a scene by typing the sentence “So it goes.”  We’ve all been in classes where you have to give presentations to the rest of the class.  Many times, people would say “um” constantly throughout their presentations.  I was originally an education major, and I was told to watch my speech to avoid saying “um” as it becomes distracting.  “So it goes.” became distracting to me in this book.  My paperback copy of the book was 215 pages long, I would bet that Vonnegut wrote “So it goes.” at least 100 times in this book, probably more.

Overall Grade

I can’t recommend this book to anyone, the humor didn’t work for me all that well, and the book irritated me by the end of it.  So it goes.

2/10

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3 Comments

  1. I love that book (and Vonnegut). Too bad you didn’t like it.

    Reply
  2. hannahrose42

     /  November 11, 2011

    I would agree with this for the most part — it’s a strange book that doesn’t make a lot of sense (haha). I still found it moderately enjoyable, maybe a 5/10 on your scale.
    If you haven’t read any other Vonnegut, and find this type to be a little too strange, you might try Player Piano, which is my favorite by him. I’d give you a brief summary, but I’m sure you are capable of looking it up if you are indeed interested. 🙂

    Reply
    • I would easily have rated this book higher except for the fact that the line “so it goes” started to irritate me so much. If I pick up on something like that in a book it really takes away from everything else that the book is doing well. I’ll probably check out more Vonnegut eventually, but it’ll probably be a while.

      Reply

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