Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Review: "Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut

This week's review, as shown by the title, is over Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five or the Children's Crusade".
I posted a couple weeks ago that this was one of my "reads for the week". For those of you who don't know was this book is about, here's the description, courtesy of Goodreads:

Slaughterhouse-FiveKurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

An anti-war book with sci-fi tendencies that isn't exactly narrated in chronological order- easily one of the zaniest and most fun reads I've found. So here's what I thought:

It's a short book, easily finished in a sitting if you have the time- however, I don't recommend that. By reading it all at once, you'll miss the ethical and heavier insights that are scattered throughout the entire story.
If you want to read just for the plotline, then by all means- fly through and enjoy it for what it is: A crass, vulgar story that manages to take that and turn it into an endearing book with a main character so similar to the protagonists or "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and others. The time travel makes the entire book on edge and doesn't give the reader a chance to get bored- and including so many elements from war to aliens to growing older, the book easily fits in with a number of genres. The author's choice of narration brings an amusing framework to the book that draws the reader in from very early on.

However, if you want to get absolutely everything out of this book, then I would advise reading it slowly. Make sure everything sinks in- even do research if you want, because the philosophic details will otherwise be lost. The book discusses fate and the reality of free will. Morality and mortality. The horrors of war and the infinities that make up each moment.  Those are the aspects that need critical thinking. The things that make this book such a fascinating read if you want it to be.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

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