Emily May's Reviews > Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
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it was ok
bookshelves: classics, 2016

I have a little inner book snob that desperately wants to like Vonnegut. In the very unlikely event that I should find myself at a convention of bookish intellectuals, I feel like I'd fit right in if I sipped my champagne and said "Oh yes, indeed, I simply adore what Vonnegut has to say about the absence of free will..."

This is the kind of bollocks that runs through my mind on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, I just don't find him that funny most of the time. Perhaps jokes about open beavers are funnier to readers who don't have vaginas - who knows? - but it goes sailing right over my head. Maybe this is why my invitation to the bookish intellectual convention seems to have got lost in the mail.

He also repeats the phrase "which looked like this" and follows it with a sketch of everything from a flamingo to a swastika to the aforementioned beaver, in both senses of the word "beaver". Again, is this funny? Should I find it funny?

The funniest parts are his jokes about white people and the way in which they celebrate their "discovery" of America in 1492, despite the fact that others had actually been living on the continent for thousands of years. But even that is a little overdone these days, and haven't others done it better? It sure feels like it.

That being said, I enjoyed Cat's Cradle. Easily my favourite of his works.

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Reading Progress

July 26, 2016 – Started Reading
July 26, 2016 – Shelved
July 27, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)

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message 1: by Gabriella (new)

Gabriella I would recommend Mother Night!!!! Un. Put. Downable. And SO FUNNY. I DNFed this. I think a large reason I didn't care for this one is it's from 1973. It feels completely dated and behind the times, even though the jokes about the colonialism I'm share at the time was fresh.

Also I want to mention that Vonnegut actuate letter grades. Cat's Cradle he gave an A+ and Mother Night an A (several others were in the A range too). This book he gave a C. So you can tell the lit snobs to shove it because Vonnegut agrees with you ;)

But I would consult his list to see which books to read by him, or to measure the ones you have already read.

Emily May Gabriella wrote: "I would recommend Mother Night!!!! Un. Put. Downable. And SO FUNNY. I DNFed this. I think a large reason I didn't care for this one is it's from 1973. It feels completely dated and behind the times..."

Hey Gabriella! So sorry I didn't reply to this sooner - Goodreads keeps eating my notifications.

Thanks for the rec. I had no idea about the letter grades, but I will definitely check out Mother Night. XD Do you have any other good humour recommendations? I feel drained from all the serious books I've been reading lately.

message 3: by Samv (new)

Samv I don't like him either

Britt If you liked Cat's Cradle, try Sirens of Titan. Hilarious. Breakfast of Champions is my least favorite of his books (full disclosure, I've only read ~70% of them). I'll second the reader who liked Mother Night.

message 5: by Kamryn (new)

Kamryn Koble Welcome to the Monkey House is a collection of Vonnegut short stories that I adore. They pack a powerful punch in few pages.

Michael Leaks.

(_.- Jared -._) ₪ Book Nerd ₪ Yeah, I'm a huge fan of the classics but I absolutely loathed Slaughterhouse-Five. I tried desperately to like but it just wasn't in me. I swear, after I read it, I felt like I was about to go nuts! If some random person came up to me and said, "So it goes..." I think I would have punched them in the face.

I was thinking of giving Kurt another shot until I read your review. Maybe I'll give Cat's Cradle a shot but I'll avoid his other books. Thanks!

Mark Howe Cats Cradle is

Mark Howe whoops, I accidentally hit post

Chelsea Holy crap I was literally having this EXACT thought (even emailed my dad as it's his copy I'm reading to say "I don't get it, what's happened, I used to get everything!") so I thought I would jump on here and read some reviews to see if I could find out what I've missed and what I can look forward to (I'm only three chapters in).

I hate to sound stalkerish but I'm totally friending you and I promise we never have to talk about classics ever or pretend to like them. Care to listen to my hatred for Lord of the Flies?

message 11: by Jack (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Onderisin Your review really intrigued me, as I took these "jokes" in a completely different light. I believe that all the "beaver" talk is not to necessarily evoke humor, but to shed light on the absolute absurdity on the society in which we live. We are led to believe that female reproductive organs, and sex in general, are a taboo in society, despite the fact that they are responsible for all life. This ties into a bigger theme in the book; our idea of normal is pretty absurd! Since sex is such a taboo topic in western society, it is not uncommon to see pornography. If we were more sexually liberated as a people, porn would most likely not exist.

Maybe I'm totally wrong, but I think that was the point Vonnegut was attempting to make.

Viktoria Yes, this book is weird; but, I’d read almost anything by Vonnegut (and have), and I read this one when I was willing to read any Kurt Vonnegut’s book, even if I’d have to re-read each chapter four times to get it. Read Slaughterhouse Five more than once. Not sure what it is- perhaps it either clicks or doesn’t. Cats Cradle was my first.

Mr. Allain I am one of those people who tends to put Vonnegut on a pedestal. Reading his books taught me a lot about style and inspired creative freedom - but as much as I love him, his genius is easily overblown. Also, young me somehow couldn't see the obvious problem you mention above: Kurt saw the world through the ultimate lens of white male privilege. That lens is never more dominant than it is in this book. Please don't ever think you have to praise Vonnegut to be a book snob. Your take on this text is smart, accurate, and important.

Jenine Young Thank you, I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't find this to be the most amazing book ever.

Christopher I loved Player Piano, but haven't been as satisfied with any other Vonnegut books. And so on...

Acidhouse Sipping champagne and talking about Vonnegut would be a very anti-Vonnegut thing to do. I don’t think he saw himself as a Hemingway. He just wrote books and had a very unique perspective on things. For some people, me included, it hits a right spot; for others it misses. You aren’t supposed to go in thinking you are reading “War and Peace.” It’s probably also a good idea to read two or three books of his to get the feel for his style.

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