Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Slaughterhouse Five Review

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut has been considered a classic for some time now. The title has long been a staple on my "to reads" list and I was glad to finally sit down and read it. I had heard only good things from my friends who had read the book, but didn't know much about the plot.

I started reading this book while I was finishing up my spring classes and had so many other books to read around exam time that I had to set this aside for a while. Since my dad was looking for a book to read at the time I offered the book to him, surprised he had not previously read it. I was even more shocked to hear that my mom had never read it either. I idolize my Mother's ability to fly through books and the volume of her library so much that I typically assume she's read more classics than she actually has.

By the time I handed the book over to my dad, I had read 80 out of the 215 pages of the novel. It took me a while to get into the story, but by the time I gave it up I probably could have finished pretty quickly. Unfortunately, even after my dad was done with the book and I was done with the semester I had been distracted by other books. Eventually I made it back to Slaughterhouse Five and finally finished the book last week.

I really liked the book, but I wouldn't say it blew me away like I was expecting it to. I loved Vonnegut's writing style for the novel. My dad said he got annoyed with the continual "so it goes," but I quite enjoyed it. I also liked the time travel concept and the idea that time is not linear in the way most people think it is, which also reminds me of Doctor Who.

The one real trouble I had with the novel, was the way that it made me feel while reading it. I usually love novels that have some sort of element of sadness, (which I promise to go into more on at a later time) but this book just made me completely uncomfortable and was utterly depressing. This was sort of a brilliant and I'm assuming completely intentional move on Vonnegut part, by really making the reader feel all that is wrong with war. (Actually as I'm writing this and thinking about the book more I am gaining a greater love for the novel.) By controlling how you feel while reading, the novel becomes a new level of anti-war. Vonnegut gives a real glimpse into what it means to be a soldier and even, in a way, what it means to be an innocent bystander to acts of war. As Americans we live in a country that has not experienced war in the same way as other countries and therefore most civilian citizens feel a certain separation from war. The book sort of broke down that wall of separation and offered a new perspective, or a deeper perspective into acts of war. Like I previously mentioned, I felt uncomfortable and really sad for most of the book.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It's a relatively short book that will keep you thinking long after you've finished reading. I can't wait to read more works by Kurt Vonnegut.


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