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1001 book reviews > Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

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Diane Zwang | 1315 comments Mod
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
3/5 stars
This was a buddy read with my son as part of his summer reading assignment. I listened to the audio narrated by Ethan Hawke which I thought was good. My only criticism of the audio was the episodes of whispering. I didn't make the connection on why the reader needed to whisper at that moment.

“When an American is captured by German soldiers during World War II, he becomes 'unstuck in time' and jumps into different parts of his life, including the future, where he is captured by aliens and put in their zoo.”

I understood that this was a book told in past, present and future, the whole alien thing eluded me. This was an anti-war book told by one man Billy Pilgrim who discussed the perils and side effects of war. Death and dying is also a main theme throughout. My son picked up on the repetitive “so it goes” but did not relate it to death. I can't imagine many fifteen year-olds are going to like this book. I was wondering how his English teacher was going to handle it, she doesn't like the book and was spending one class on discussing it. I appreciate the book's place in history but I didn't enjoy reading it. I am inspired to learn more about the bombing of Dresden.

Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments 3 Stars

The first thing I need to say is that I have a bias against science fiction. I rarely enjoy it. That has a big impact on my rating, because for me this felt like two books. The first was this odd time-travel, alien-world, science fiction book that baffled me. I didn't connect with it at all. But the examination of the Dresden bombings, the moments spent in the shoes of Americans who are being held as POWs in Germany, the satiric anti-war voice were spot on. I felt like the book made me think, made me study, made me laugh, made me learn. I enjoyed it more than I expected. And 24 hours after finishing it I am anxious to read from others what they think of the book. I want to know what I missed, because I think it may have been a lot.

There is one thing I absolutely loved. Vonnegut's use of the words "and so it goes" served to both emphasize and minimize death. Both. At the same time. It was brilliant. Each time it became more apparent to me that someone, or many someones, had died. But it also was just like he was saying, "yeah... so what? Next." It was one of the smartest cases of wordplay I have seen.

Dree | 243 comments 4/5

I had actually never read this book! My high school sophomore was supposed to read it for summer reading and he made it halfway through. He hated it. And honestly, I can see why he did, I think the format and writing style is more than he can really understand. And he hasn't yet learned to just keep reading and see what you find out later. He did read enough to ace the summer reading test.

This book is the out-of-order story of Billy Pilgrim, who is drafted into World War II, is taken prisoner by the Germans, survives Dresden, returns to optometry school, marries the daughter of an optometrist, has kids, is an optometrist, is kidnapped by aliens and placed in their zoo, and so on and so forth. It is weird.

I actually rather enjoyed this--which surprised me a little. I know a lot of people who love it, but they are all men. But I did rather enjoy it, though mostly I felt bad for Billy Pilgrim and his fellow soldiers.

I loved the convoluted storyline, which is typical for me. I like trying to piece together a timeline of sorts. And I do think that if I read this again, I would get more out of it that I missed the first time due to the way it is told. But I am not going to be reading it again right now.

Hilde (hilded) | 355 comments Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Read September 2020 for the TBR challenge
Rating: 4 stars

I didn’t know what to expect of this book, was it going to be a war book? And what about the label of it as sci-fi, how does one connect those two?

I am not sure I can describe what exactly I enjoyed about it, but it was great! A satirical, subtle, non-linear war book with an untraditional narrator. All to address the meaningless destructions of war, and human rawness as a result. And so it goes.

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