Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut may be justifiably famous and a classic of all times, but it was not a book for me. I had avoided reading Vonnegut's best-known novel because I thought it would be unbearably dreary. How could a book about the firebombing of Dresden during WWII not be dreary? But it is on the Modern Library's Top 100 list, so I finally got around to it, and I found my answer. If you write a book about the firebombing of Dresden and fill it with time travel, space ships, and extraterrestrials, it is not dreary, it is goofy. But I do not care for goofy books about extraterrestrials, especially when they are really serious books about the morality of firebombing your enemy during war. Personally, I would rather have a dreary, realistic book than a goofy book. I know others disagree and think this book is the be-all/end-all and that Vonnegut walks on water. In fact, I acquired my first literary stalker when I posted my review of Slaughterhouse-Five on LibraryThing. A fellow reader disagreed with my opinion and wanted to argue me into the ground on every idea and nuance in the book. I had to send him a "lose my number" message and block him from my profile -- pretty harsh measures among bibliophiles. So it is with a little trepidation that I add the note that I just finished Cat's Cradle and I was not particularly wowed by that one either. I enjoyed it more than Slaughterhouse-Five, but I am simply not a fan. So it goes.