Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Review of the Day: Slaughterhouse-Five

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.


  1. I've read about a dozen Vonnegut books, and while I've enjoyed them all, I have to say the spaceships, etc., sections in some of them usually lost me, too. My favorites have been Mother Night (I don't remember any spaceships in there) and Player Piano (can't quite remember about that one, but I don't think there are any in there either).


  2. I'm not a big Vonnegut fan either, but Slaughterhouse is on my "to get" list. And since I'm into collecting first editions, as well as reading them, my wallet will take a hit. Sorry to hear about your literary stalker. You did the right thing.

  3. I'm often on the lookout for worthwhile new reading, but haven't gotten around to Vonnegut. Thanks for the warning. I will pass on him.

    Bob Sanchez

  4. Never read Vonnegut. It sounds like quite an experience, even if one might not enjoy it. I'm adding it to my list ;)

  5. I agree with you for the most part. I thought it was just ok. However, the part where the bombing of Dresden is witnessed in reverse and all the planes return home, the bombs are dismantled, and the soldiers return home to their loved ones...THAT tore me up.


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