Tag Archives: American Lit

L: Review of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five”

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Slaughterhouse-Five is one of those books that pretty much just set up camp on my “To Read” list. I’ve wanted to read it for many moons now; correction: I’ve wanted to have read it. I’ve wanted my reading of Kurt Vonnegut’s famous novel, Slaughterhouse-Five to be firmly in my past, but never got around to reading it in order to put it behind me. SO MANY other books are out there and the premise of Slaughterhouse-Five just sounded like a total snooze-fest. I was right, in that assumption, by the way. However, I now am living a life that has Slaughterhouse-Five under its metaphorical belt.

I found it to be completely unexceptional, which I imagine was partly intended. Billy Pilgrim, the main character was just the biggest goober ever and I hated him, which I know was fully intended. None of the characters fit the role of the romantic war hero, the American veteran who overcame the odds and survived the abominable tragedies of war to return home and live a life of well-earned prosperity and respect. All the characters were unappealing, despicable individuals whose ineptitude showed that, in wartime, anyone will do, even the bottom of the human barrel. Vonnegut succeeded in making war seem completely horrible and un-glamerous, which I understand to have been his ultimate goal. Had I romanticized war before reading this novel, I surely wouldn’t do so now.

I really don’t have much to say about Slaughterhouse-Five. I didn’t like it, but how much can you really enjoy a retelling of several of mankind’s most horrific years? Read it if you want; if you don’t, you’re not missing anything, in my opinion.

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