Reviewed: “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut

What to say about Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five?

I had heard things about Vonnegut and his books and I wasn’t at all sure what to expect. I’m not even all that sure what it was or, more specifically, what the point was. Even more strangely, I really did like book. I’m not quite sure how or why, but I liked it.

There were, of course, things that hooked me to the story: that it was centered on the bombing of Dresden during World War II, that it’s a classic, that I got the book for free and needed something to read.

There were, too, things that confused me about the story: mainly Tralfamadore and the Tralfamadorians who look like toilet plungers and exist in all dimensions at all times. The way they took, and I’m presuming it was them, Billy Pilgrim back and forth between the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and so on was a little confusing. On the other hand, the story wouldn’t have been quite the same if everything was in logical, chronological order. The story needed the chaos and confusion.

War is chaos and confusion and it makes men behave differently than they might otherwise act. That seems to the point of the story. It’s thought provoking – I finished it a few days ago and I’m still thinking about it – and it really is almost tragic.

In essence, Billy Pilgrim seems to go through every aspect of humanity, and then some, in his sadly muddled life that he literally has no control over.

I haven’t done any research into anything Vonnegut might have said about the ‘purpose’ of Slaughterhouse Five, beyond Googling the proper way to spell Tralfamadore because I don’t have my book close by right now, so any and all things I say are my own opinions.

Will I read it again? Yes. I think I have to so I can know what to expect and get more out of the story.

Four stars out of five from me.

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