Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*'s Reviews > Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
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Oct 15, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: books-for-school, aliens, time-travel, sci-fi, surrealism, classics
Read in October, 2008

*sigh* Okay. I ... STRONGLY DISLIKED this book, for a handful of reasons. But honestly, I would never have picked this up on my own; I was assigned to read this for honors english class, and it's not something I would read normally. Not that I didn't give it a chance, because I did. I tried to like it. I really did. And for the first fifty or so pages, I was like, "Okay ... This isn't so bad I guess ..." But after a while, it just got so aggravating. The writing style started to drive me insane. And by the five hundredth time I read the sentence "So it goes", I wanted to hurl the book across the room and scream my head off.

The writing style was horrible. I couldn't stand it. And the whole way the book is set up has no order or logic whatsoever. Okay, so the whole Tralfamadorian time thing was a cool idea. But it wasn't completely thought through, obviously. The whole skipping around through time got really annoying. And, if you're me, and reading this for a class, it's IMPOSSIBLE to find quotes because there's no order to it at all! Plus, the way the time was set up made it impossible to really develop the plot or the characters. The whole thing seemed to go by on one depressing note, without any ups-and-downs. But the characters are pretty flat and boring to begin with.

Also ... Mr. Vonnegut, there is such a thing as TMI. The weird sex scenes ... the scenes about people pooping ... Uh. I didn't really have to know that. Maybe if you mentioned these things once or twice, that would've been okay. But over and over again? I got a little sick of it. Sick in a very literal sense of the word.

Obviously, Vonnegut wrote this book in such a bizarre way so that when people criticized it, he could stick his nose in the air and say, "Hmph! You just don't understand my GENIUS!" And then those who criticized it would change their minds and say, "What? Oh of COURSE I understood it. Haha. Because I'm so SMART!" It's one of those books where the writing style is very "in your face!", like, "I'm going to write this book in a really weird way, and there's nothing you can do about it! HAHA! So when you say you didn't like it, everyone will think you're a snob!" I hate that kind of writing. It's precisely what ticked me off about this book.

Well, call me a snob. But I couldn't stand this book.
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Reading Progress

10/02/2008 page 64
10/07/2008 page 108
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Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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message 1: by Annie (new)

Annie It's been a long time since I read this, but I remember thinking it was creepy, funny and haunting.

Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* it's a little confusing at the beginning. but it's okay i guess ...

message 3: by Kent (new)

Kent Lundgren Good for you, Brigid, to recognize pretentious garbage when you see it.


Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* haha. thanks, i guess. :D

message 5: by Sue (new) - rated it 1 star

Sue Tielert I could not agree MORE with you. If I had to read "So it goes" one more friggin time, I was going to hurl ! Ugh. Read this for a book club. Never again.

Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* Hi Sue, thanks for commenting. :)
Yeah, evidently this book was not my cup of tea either. I might read it again someday just to see if my opinion has changed, but it's not at the top of my priorities list.

Claire Botman The "So it goes" was definitely very aggravating, and the "poor old Edgar Derby" too. Agree with most of your review Brigid, pretty much hated the book & kept thinking I would give it up but somehow got to halfway & then it was pretty easy to get it over with (the power cut might have helped LOL). Now on to some real story telling please!

message 8: by Ash (new) - rated it 1 star

Ash I'm currently reading it and I can't stand it already.. I cant believe im reading it for 5 days and I only finished 50 pages out of 150

Drunkdave Funny how taste differs, I read it in one sitting.

message 10: by Heidi (new) - rated it 1 star

Heidi I'm glad that I'm not the only one who didn't like it!

Christopher Meades I definitely hear what you're saying. It's almost as if this novel deliberately defies enjoyability at times. The time shifting seems more of a random late-night-drinking-and-writing-session kind of thing that actually well thought out storytelling. However, there's something different about this book, somthing unconventional and strangely compelling that redeemed it for me....

Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* Yeah, it definitely had unique aspects which were interesting. However, it just didn't really tickle my fancy I suppose...

message 13: by Zach (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zach Gray I'm halfway through and it seems to be about looking back on war and fitting experiences into who you are today. Memories come at random and they're not sequential. That's part of the reason it skips around and the other reason is that it's demonstrating the philosophy that a person is not only who he is in this moment but is just as much who he is in other moments, past and future.

Katie I do not think you are a snob for disliking this book. Everyone is entitled to their own personal tastes. But, I do think it is extremely short sighted to believe Vonnegut's style was an attempt to be pretentious, or whatever you are implying. Vonnegut was a veteran of WWII and actually experienced the bombing of Dresden first hand. This style of writing seems to be a way to tell this story without its vulgarity overwhelming the reader - or for that matter the writer himself. The time travel and alien aspects highlight how people might deal with the distress of witnessing such terrible events. He was trying to shed light on the terrible atrocity that took place in Dresden - an event which was overshadowed by so many other terrible events that took place in WWII. I have been lucky enough to never experience a war - this book, albeit strange, confusing, and at times overwhelming, is an account of WWII – something which needs addressed and reviewed so history does not repeat itself. Ultimately, it validates my personal hatred of war.
One other quick note on the “excessive sex and poop scenes.” I believe these scenes were actually a small part of the novel and were brief compared to many other books I’ve read. And, I’m talking award winning books and authors, not Fifty Shades of Grey. Have you ever read The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison? I was assigned that book my sophomore year of high school. Let me tell you, the graphic molesting incest scenes will make Slaughterhouse-Five’s sex scenes seem PG rated. At the time, I thought the scenes were over the top. Now, I can appreciate the necessity of such scenes.
Though I don’t expect you to suddenly like this book or its writing style, hopefully you can learn to appreciate where this book is coming from and why it was written.

Virtuella I didn't care much for it either, though it has it's moments. But you're right. If a book is boring and confusing, then it doesn't get any better just...more I didn't care much for it either, though it has its moments. But you're right. If a book is boring and confusing, then it doesn't get any better just because the author says he did that on purpose. We entrust the author with a portion of our precious life time. This gives the author a moral duty to either entertain, educate or edify us with the book. The author has no right to frustarte and annoy the readers. That is just plain wrong.

Virtuella PS: "its" moments, of course. Couldn't find a way to edit this.

Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* Wow there are a lot of comments on this review that I haven't read ... Oops. I guess I can sum up my responses to: I understand what the book was trying to accomplish, but I did not enjoy it. I think you can appreciate a book's purpose and still just ... not like it. There just wasn't much about it that I liked. So ... yeah, there's not much else to say on the matter.

Also, note I read the book and wrote this review when I was 16 I think, so like five years ago––and at the time I was not the best at expressing my opinion in a very coherent manner, and I'm pretty ashamed of all my reviews from back then sooo at some point I might just delete this review altogether. :P

And Virtuella - thanks for your comment. I agree ... I have trouble enjoying a book if it just plain bores or annoys me. As I said, it's not necessarily anything against the author, and it's fine for an author to experiment with style and all ... but if I just don't enjoy a certain style, regardless of what the author's intentions are ... well, I just don't like it, and I'm not obligated to.

Joshua Church I think it's really unfortunate how many people think that Kurt Vonnegut was 'pretentious'. He was very genuine, people need to stop using the word pretentious when they don't fully really understand something. It's a bad as people in the middle ages calling scientific things 'witchcraft' because they didn't understand it.
i know you didn't say pretentious Brigid, but other people in the comments did. I"m also not saying everyone should love this book, people have different tastes, but calling Vonnegut something he was not is wrong.

message 19: by Dave (last edited Feb 25, 2014 10:00PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dave This is a man struggling with a horror he witnessed. Give this guy another shot in about ten years. It'll be different.

Helena Kranjc I think this is the most accurate possible review of the book.

Kerri Cato Yeah the "so it goes" was really annoying. I like Vonnegut though.Try cat's cradle, it's much better.

Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* Kerri Cato wrote: "Yeah the "so it goes" was really annoying. I like Vonnegut though.Try cat's cradle, it's much better."

Thanks! I've heard that one's better from several people, so I'll probably give it a shot at some point.

Andrew Obrigewitsch The point of view character is crazy, so that's why the story in a jumbled disordered way.

message 24: by N.E. (new) - rated it 2 stars

N.E. David Like you, I didn't really understand what this book was about and I'm not afraid to admit it. I'm still waiting for someone to tell me. I also rated it as two stars but gave it nowhere near the slating you did! I'd hate to be the author of a book you rate as one star! NED

Andrew Obrigewitsch The book is about the authors experience as a POW during WWII and the fire bombing of Dresden Germany which he lived through. The book I read had an interview by the author where he explained it all, which probably made the book a lot better. The whole message is that war is insanity.

Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* I don't think the copy I read included that, but I do know he was a war veteran. Anyway, it was one of those books where I understood what the message was and what the author was trying to accomplish; I just didn't enjoy the style or the experience of reading it. There are books that better capture the insanity of war for me––like The Things They Carried, for example.

Carolee Would never call you a snob, that would imply that you feel superior in some way. Bet you love Virginia Woolf, and the talentless S. Meyer. Peace.

bitmaid I share your sentiments. But reading the reviews I've found that it's not that people don't see the lack of logic and organization, it's the fact that they ENJOY it. Which I never will. Conclusion: Mr. Vonnegut caters to a specific crowd, a cult following.

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