Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut is a book that I read by choice, and after I read it, I had two reactions. The first was “huh?” and the second was, “I’m only 18. I guess I’m not mature enough to appreciate it. Well, I reread it recently, and while my first reaction was still “huh”, my second reaction was instead “The sixties were as weird as they say they were.” While you’ve got to love a book with any character named “Montana Wildhack”, how they adapted this into a Slaughterhouse Five Movieis beyond me, but any movie with Valerie Perrine in it (Miss Tessmacher!!!!!) is worth a look.
Look, Kurt Vonnegutseemed like a really sweet guy when he was alive, and how can you not appreciate an author who cameoed as himself in the Rodney Dangerfield movie Back to School? However, as much as I appreciate the art and creativity that went into Slaughterhouse Five, I can’t appreciate it as a “good read”.
Leave out the stuff about the aliens and stick to Dresden and the POW stuff and I can hang with it, but Billy Pilgrim as a middle-aged guy having a nervous breakdown and maybe or maybe not being sent to a different world as the male pair of humans on exhibit at an Alien Zoo? As they say in Mandarin – “Ay yuh!” In Yiddish that would be “Oy Vey”. In the “Dark Hunter” series “Holy Guacamole!” and where I come from “You gotta’ be sh*tting me”.
Here are some Scathing Book Reviews of Slaughterhouse Five that indicate the real slaughter was of Vonnegut’s reputation:
…With all due respects to the author, this is the WORST book I have ever read in my life. It is disjointed and hops all over the place. There’s no continuity at all. The prose is terrible. The back cover says it is funny without laughing, splendid art, a book without tears. Wrong! I am actually crying: that I paid so much money for this. I gritted my teeth to finish reading this book.
I finally got around to reading it recently. It is appalling that this is considered a classic and that it is studied as an example of American literature. I am especially amazed that this book is studied in English courses across America. Message to students: Question the judgment of any teacher who presents this as an example of anything other than worthless …that should have never been published.
Slaughterhouse-Five is one of those rare sorts of books whose total lack of any merit whatsoever is inexplicable in the face of its generally agreed upon status as a world classic. Had this fatalistic, dewy-eyed tripe not been written during the escalation of ‘Nam and the sudden moral ambiguity pervading American letters at the time, it would, honestly, never have made it close. This is sad. The literati have doubtless showered numerous accolades at its feet, though what, for instance, is there to celebrate in this pure dreck?
I’d like to tell anyone who thought it was overly strange and disjointed, I agree! So it goes… some enjoy classics like this, some do not. My english teacher told me I took it too seriously. All I have to say to him is, “Po-tee-weet!”
…and this review, which seem familiar from other reviews of “classics”:
…and, finally the true explanation Slaughterhouse Five’s unique style:
Filed under: American Classics, Authors of Note, Junior High & High School Assigned Reading, Literature, Movie Tie-Ins, Science Fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy | Tagged: Book Reviews, books, Dresden, Junior High & High School Assigned Reading, Kurt Vonnegut, Science Fiction, Slaughterhouse Five, World War II, Writing, WWII | 2 Comments »