Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Deadeye Dick” as Want to Read:
Deadeye Dick
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Deadeye Dick

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  24,215 ratings  ·  843 reviews
Deadeye Dick is Kurt Vonnegut’s funny, chillingly satirical look at the death of innocence. Amid a true Vonnegutian host of horrors—a double murder, a fatal dose of radioactivity, a decapitation, an annihilation of a city by a neutron bomb—Rudy Waltz, aka Deadeye Dick, takes us along on a zany search for absolution and happiness. Here is a tale of crime and punishment that ...more
Paperback, 271 pages
Published 2010 by Dial Press (first published 1982)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Deadeye Dick, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Deadeye Dick

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Vonnegut's Best
37 books — 612 voters
Moby-Dick or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleFun with Dick and Jane by Pearson Scott ForesmanDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. DickDeadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
I Like Dick
160 books — 19 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  24,215 ratings  ·  843 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Deadeye Dick
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
“I was the great marksman, anyway. If I aimed at nothing, then nothing is what I would hit.”
―Kurt Vonnegut, Deadeye Dick


This is one of those Vonnegut novels, I'll probably hold off giving to my son to read. Not yet son. You aren't quite ready for this depth of existentialist Vonnegut despair. The world is sometimes a rotten place, it really is, but I don't want to step on all his hope too early. Once when I was young, and I said something cynical and sarcastic in front of my father, he rebuked m
J.L.   Sutton
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
“I concluded that the best thing for me and for those around me was to want nothing, to be enthusiastic about nothing, to be as unmotivated as possible, in fact, so that I would never again hurt anyone.”

Kurt Vonnegut’s Deadeye Dick was meant, I think, to be read as the mundane experience of one family, interspersed with recipes and finally an admission on the part of the narrator of being a double murderer. The way Vonnegut writes this memoir doesn’t change after that; however, crazy moments con
MJ Nicholls
Oct 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: merkins, novels
This is satire at its blackest. Deadeye Dick might be the angriest of Vonnegut's books: nuclear weapons, small-town life, hopeless parents and marriages, drug addiction, warped governments, racism, police brutality and gun laws. It's all here in this mulligan stew of righteous indignation.

Brilliant. A real tour de force of grumpy trouble-making.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
*** 2019 reread

Many of Vonnegut’s books are set in or at least mention Midland City, Ohio. This was the canvas on which he painted so much of his great work, and therein resided so many of his recurring characters. It was to him as Yoknapatawpha County was to William Faulkner.

Deadeye Dick had so much in common with his 1973 work Breakfast of Champions, it could almost be a loose sequel. We walk the sidewalks and run into Dwayne Hoover, Celia Hoover, Fred Berry and maybe even a brief glimpse at o
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
"To be is to do." Socrates
"To do is to be." Sartre
"Do be do be do." Sinatra
aayushi girdhar
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
“That is my principal objection to life, I think: It's too easy, when alive, to make perfectly horrible mistakes.”

if I have to describe the most pervasive theme of the book using one sentence, it would be this one. the protagonist, rudy waltz, accidently commits a double-murder when he is twelve, and the lives rest of his life as sort of a redemption for his horrible deed in the past- 'i concluded that the best thing for me and for those around me was to want nothing, to be enthusiastic about n
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Deadeye Dick" starts out with a vintage Vonnegut gem, as the opening paragraph of chapter one is a lovely and unique statement about how we set our values in life. Actually it is about how our values are placed on us by the environment in which we are raised and nurtured. He sets up the motif of our lives as peepholes which open when we are born, and close when we die, and that is it. It is a clever and original method of presenting this thought.
This novel reads and feels like a typical Vonnegu

Description: Deadeye Dick is Kurt Vonnegut’s funny, chillingly satirical look at the death of innocence. Amid a true Vonnegutian host of horrors—a double murder, a fatal dose of radioactivity, a decapitation, an annihilation of a city by a neutron bomb—Rudy Waltz, aka Deadeye Dick, takes us along on a zany search for absolution and happiness. Here is a tale of crime and punishment that makes us rethink what we believe . . . and who we say we are.

Minorite Church Vienna by Adolf Hitler 1910-1912

Michael Gallone
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vonnegut
Personally, this is one of, if not, my most favorite book of all time. I feel like it doesn't get as much praise as it should in the way that Vonnegut gives you a character that is human, but because of his life has become something more like a creature than anything else and finds so much difficulty interacting with other humans and able to understand the things they do and what he should do because he has been made out to be so alien from the moments when he was young all the way up to adultho ...more
Daniel Montgolfier
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Vonnegut fans, fans of social satire, and everyone else
Recommended to Daniel by: The Book Fair
Before this, I had read a number of Vonnegut titles. But, unlike all of his other works that i have encountered, this one had a significant lack of "science" as far as the "science fiction" goes. There was no space opera that we find in The Sirens of Titan. There were no aliens, like in Slaughter-house 5 (and no time travel either). There was not a single gram of Ice-Nine nor was there an omniscient narrator that met his colorful creations at the end to give them advice. Apart from a neutron bom ...more
Yair Ben-Zvi
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I keep thinking at some point I'll age out of Kurt Vonnegut and relegate him to the echelon of 'writers I used to love but-" yet I never do. Just when I think his voice is a bit too dismissive, his style a bit too oblique, and his moralizing just a hair too on the nose, I'm drawn in inexorably to the weird little worlds he creates. Deadeye Dick is no exception, if anything, it's a bleak but heartening testament to the dreadfully optimistic, optimistically dreadful, light that Vonnegut shined on ...more
H.A. Leuschel
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I take from reading this great book is that if you don't participate in the 'writing of your personal story', others may take over which - as is the case for the main character and his father in this book - can have tragic consequences. The two protagonists are being defined by the story a community tells about them and hence 'freezes' them into adopting identities they would either have to rebel against to break the spell or adopt and therefore remain stuck in a limbo forever. They opt for ...more
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I like different Vonnegut novels for different reasons. I enjoyed the space epic that was The Sirens of Titan for the scale of its journey. I liked Slaughterhouse-5 for the incredibly powerful anti-war message it conveyed —not to mention its absurd sadness. Mother Night was beautiful in a picturesque way. I actually thought Galapagos was a little dry, but the ideas it explored made it more memorable than some other works. What was common to all of them was the strength of the satire and the grip ...more
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The weakest Vonnegut book I've read so far (having read all except Player Piano and Hocus Pocus). Very little in the way of a story, which is not always a bad thing in itself, but it feels rather aimless and doesn't really go anywhere. It's a shame as it's full of brilliant Vonnegut-isms, little philosophical witticisms and remarks, but there's nothing really to hang it on. Actually, thinking about it, there is quite a lot going on, but it's rather a mess and without some kind of direction or st ...more
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
To be honest I'm a bit of a Vonnegut fanboy. And by a "bit" I mean, "He's my favourite author." I like everything I've ever read by him, a lot. I just love his writing style, I love how he uses simplistic language but explores much bigger, heavier issues with it. I love his brand of satire. I love his weirdness, how he often puts slightly odd plots and plot devices in his books.

While Deadeye Dick isn't his best, it's still pretty awesome. He expertly explores the death of innocence. While I'm r
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the Vonnegut novel that called death, "shut his or her peep-hole". This is the Vonnegut novel that had cooking recipes sprinkled here and there throughout. And dialogue written in the form of short plays as well. This is the novel that had the misinformation about the Creole language only being in the present tense and the neutron bomb not wrecking anything but the living things. And so on.

This is a most depressing novel about a small town in Ohio that nobody cares about. Where all the p
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

I've read better by Vonnegut, but this was still a delight.

His discussion about a person's story vs their epilogue was enlightening. I'll definitely be thinking about it for some time.
Kyle Steele
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: already-read
I finished this book for two reasons: 1. I'm a Kurt Vonneget fan and want to read all of his books. 2. I don't like to start a book and not finish it.

That's it.

I can't say that I enjoyed this book, or really remember too much about it. The plot was almost pointless and it was beyond jaded. It's saving grace (for Vonneget fans) is that it gave some insight into his view of the world, which was nice. However, I wouldn't suggest this book to anyone other than those people who want to read everyth
Lee Foust
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another review lost when Firefox crashed... Sigh. Start again.

Although Deadeye Dick was written by a seasoned Vonnegut, at the height of his skill as a master of American diction in prose, this novel just doesn't quite come together for me 100%. The witty, pithy, and yet still heartrendingly human and vulnerable sentiments that are Vonnegut's trademarks are here in spades. Bravo! A good read indeed. But, but, something seems to be missing from this one, something I can't quite put my finger on.

Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm from way up north where the blueberries grow; where high school shuts down for the opening of deer season and kids learn to load buckshot before they hit puberty. If you do something in the morning, everyone will sure as shit have already heard about it by evening. It's safe to say that I live in a small town. And this, in a way, is sort of what this story is about. Rudy Waltz is the infamous Deadeye Dick of Midland, Ohio. Everyone knows him, and what he did, and those hometown nicknames are ...more
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Vonnegut is back at full strength! I'm reading his novels in chronological sequence and the two written after Breakfast of Champions were a disappointment at best. With Deadeye Dick, his power returns, with a more mature end-of-life perspective. Even though Vonnegut was only 59 while writing it, you get the feeling that his personal story has ended, and its epilogue has begun. This is not a guess: he admits it for himself, through his characters, and is a main theme of the book.

Between its openi
Jun 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
there's something about most Vonnegut novels that isn't dull exactly but plodding and precious and v one dimensional. like it is impossible to think that it will matter if you finish the book or not. nothing will happen.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
“To the as-yet-unborn, to all innocent wisps of undifferentiated nothingness: Watch out for life.”

Life is the opening and closing of “peepholes” in time, each peephole telling a story. There’s quite a bit going on here, but it focuses largely on the loss of innocence, life’s story, and life’s epilogue. Rudy Waltz fast became one of my favorite KV creations. His recipes and memory playlets added a layer of complexity to the character and style.

As always, Vonnegut is the master of satire.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-readables
Another great Vonnegut novel down! The more you read Vonnegut, the more you realize that each of his books is simply a different cynical riff on some aspect of his personal microcosm. This one is more of a tangent to the others, great reading as a sort of appendix or precursor to Breakfast Of Champions. The story stands completely alone, but it would be a very odd place to start if you were not yet initiated to his world. I wouldn't start here, but if your burning through his books, make sure yo ...more
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this! The bomb, big pharma, police brutality, the modern age, and so much more - always timely and of the moment. Heavy themes, but wrapped in genuine goodness. Vonnegut's autobiographical prologues are the best, this has to be has one of my faves.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Only Vonnegut can make a book overloaded with recipes, the use of the word "peephole," and Hitler references a genuinely lovely thing to read
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"To the as-yet-unborn, to all innocent wisps of undifferentiated nothingness: Watch out for life." (1)
I don't know why I held off reading Deadeye Dick for so long. The title never grabbed me, which probably contributed to the fact that I picked up a dozen Vonneguts before Deadeye Dick. But now it was the last novel of his on my shelf that I hadn't yet read—and I really felt like reading Vonnegut. And I'm so glad I did. It was one of those moments where what you need to read coincides with what y
Johanna Hilla
I read almost the entire book when a fire broke out at a painting section of a car factory, and all the workers were sent out to spend their day outside. For one day the usually busy nest of working blue-overall bees turned into a sunny festival of ice-cream and cigarettes. It could have been the best day of the summer. The joy of sunshine when you are expected to work, but cannot because of a system failure.

This is a big, bulky book for only little over 200 words. The blue cover, which looks l
Nick Baam
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Cannot believe Vonnegut ever wrote a better book than this. Brilliant from beginning to end.

Some gems:

"If a person survives an ordinary span of sixty years or more, there is every chance that his or her life as a shapely story has ended, and all that remains to be experienced is epilogue. Life is not over, but the story is."

And: "I suppose that's really what so many American women are complaining about these days: They find their lives short on story and overburdened with epilogue."

And: "It is v
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
For a book that is set to explore death of innocence, it quite can get cycnical. Sometimes it seems like cynicism and apathy become Vonnegut's go to move when dealing with subject that requires absolute empathy. Not always losing innocence would mean gaining knowledge. Not always does losing innocence means gaining experience. Sometimes its losing a bit of faith and looking at the world with narrow eyes. Sometimes it's not believing in human suffering. Sometimes its lack of hope in becoming some ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2015 Reading Chal...: Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut (1982) 1 16 Jul 21, 2015 08:12PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Book about an accidental killing [s] 9 55 Jul 09, 2014 09:28AM  
Deadye Dick 5 75 Dec 30, 2011 08:41AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Body
  • Confessions of a Crap Artist
  • And So it Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life
  • Picture This
  • Spider-Verse: Warzones!
  • Strange Seed
  • The Age of Napoleon
  • Dead City Radio
  • The Feud
  • Moments of Reprieve
  • The Fall of Richard Nixon: A Reporter Remembers Watergate
  • Time Out of Joint
  • Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange, Vol. 1
  • Selected Non-Fictions
  • Chevengur
  • All Eyes on Her
  • Wonder Woman (Wonder Woman: 75th Anniversary #1-4)
  • The Story of Avis
See similar books…
Kurt Vonnegut, Junior was an American novelist, satirist, and most recently, graphic artist. He was recognized as New York State Author for 2001-2003.

He was born in Indianapolis, later the setting for many of his novels. He attended Cornell University from 1941 to 1943, where he wrote a column for the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. Vonnegut trained as a chemist and worked as a journali

Related Articles

Here in the United States, it's football season. It's time of great rivalry, wearing of team colors, and obsessing over the late...
7 likes · 12 comments
“That is my principal objection to life, I think: It's too easy, when alive, to make perfectly horrible mistakes.” 102 likes
“To be is to do - Socrates.
To do is to be - Jean-Paul Satre.
Do be do be do -Frank Sinatra.”
More quotes…