Book Review- Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

My Rating : 3.7 stars

Book & Author : Slaughterhouse Five/ Kurt Vonnegut

Genre: Fiction

Believe it or not, but I heard about Kurt Vonnegut first on Stranger Things! It is always interesting to me when authors or books are referenced in a movie or in another book and so I decided I wanted to read a Kurt Vonnegut myself and see why he is so popular. Based on online research, I found this was his most popular piece of work and hence bought this on my kindle and I have to say, wasn’t disappointed at all!

It is also interesting to note that both the books I read this month, had some underlying message about the futility and mindlessness of war and violence in general. In an age when people have no patience for peace or tolerance of any kind, a slaughterhouse five is a good way to remind us why we should be more peaceful, without making us utterly depressed about humankind and the point of us in this Universe.

I think Shakespeare invented the concept of comedy that arises out of tragedy and if you really think about it, everything that is funny is actually tragic. When we make a joke of it or say it lightheartedly , we are trying to make a point in good humour. And I think that is what Kurt Vonnegut has done in this book. He has touched upon the predicament soldiers go through in a war, irrespective of whether they won or lost, it seems like they always lose. And he centres his story around Billy Pilgrim, who in himself cannot be more absurd a character. And yet, you end up caring for him and agreeing with his point of view by the end of the book. Sometimes it will feel as if the book was written by someone who lost the plot himself, all that about Tralfamadore, but I actually thought in hindsight, this might be a very good topic of discussion in book club readings. With all the Tralfamadore references, do we believe Billy Pilgrim or are those just hallucinations of a soldier who went through a lot of shit during the war and this was just his brain’s way of dealing with PTSD?

Even though Billy Pilgrim was a simpleton and probably had lost his marbles, and married someone strange not for the sake of love and probably really had time traveled, and had experienced all sorts of horrors a war can bring upon a person, and somehow still miraculously survived and did all right for himself in the end- I absolutely loved his character. So it goes.. (wink!)

Have you read this particular book? If yes, what did you think about the storyline and Tralfamadore? Do you agree when Billy says towards the end, what has to be done has to be done? Are there any other Kurt Vonnegut books that you would like to recommend to me? We’re in the last month of the year and although I won’t be able to complete my reading challenge this year, I have had an excellent year of reading so far. Now time for the last two or three books of the year and then we will have a quick recap!! Can’t wait! Yay!!

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