Reviews

Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

varun_banala's review against another edition

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2.0

I would say it is descent read, not a head turner. Maybe I was little disappointed to expect too much out of the book after seeing so many good reviews and praise for it. The plot was good and humour too but nothing of it that made me laugh out loud (only a few couple of times). I would say it is good read in your free time.

edboies's review against another edition

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4.0

In the movie there are boobs that were shown on A&E in the afternoon.

themissyreads's review against another edition

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4.0

I knew watching the Crash Course lit episodes on it that Slaughterhouse five was for me. its just the right amount of sincere and ridiculous. its tone is pretty perfectly balanced in my eyes and most importantly, it's exactly my kind of weird. Not for everyone, but I would easily recommend to someone i thought would enjoy this masterpiece of insanity.

hannibal's review

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challenging dark funny reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

_gm_18's review against another edition

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dark funny reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

caddysnack's review against another edition

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4.0

Although not my favorite Vonnegut, this book definitely brings a different and interesting narrative to war fiction. I found it somewhat lacking, but am having a hard time putting my finger on what. I guess I didn't find it... brutal enough.

drsdon's review against another edition

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5.0

I first read Vonnegut (and Slaughterhouse Five in particular), in college (which is more years ago than seems possible. I was hooked then, and despite the consistency of my affinity for his work, its always hard to explain - both his work, and why I like it. His writing is so different than everything else that I read - incredibly eccentric but amazingly accessible at the same time. His works are easy to read, but hard to get; and ultimately, I love that challenge.

Slaughterhouse Five remains my favorite Vonnegut work. It touches on so many different things that I think an entire class could be taught just on the book. For example:

1. Is the book anti-war? How does Vonnegut's portrayal of WWII, and in particularly the fire-bombing of Dresden, help or hurt such sentiments.

2. How does Vonnegut's own experiences in WWII (he was personally a POW in Dresden during the bombing) shape this novel? How autobiographical is it? Does the autobiographical nature limit its application?

3. Is the book science fiction? There are aliens (spoiler alert I guess), but its not about them. What constitutes science fiction? Where does this book belong in terms of genre?

4. What is time? Vonnegut's use of the aliens and how they view time, in contrast to how we view time, raises an interesting metaphysical question. Does time actually exist independently? Is it solely a construct of human existence?

5. Do we have free will? The discussion of time above informs this question. What does it mean to have (or not have) free will, not just philosophically, but morally.

6. Does the book embrace hope, or a fatalistic existentialism? Depending on your interpretation to this question, what does it say about you?


These were just some of the questions that came to mind as I reread the novel, and I'm sure scholars much more educated that me can come up with more. But as I hope I convey, Vonnegut gives his readers so much to chew on to the point that when you get done with the book, you're not really sure what the book was about, from a narrative point, but you have lots of ideas about what the book is telling its readers.

As I said, I first read the book many years ago, and this is the third time I read it. Each time it gets better, because each time I think I have more knowledge and experience to bring to the questions the book necessarily raises. For me, anyone remotely interested in 20th Century American Fiction, and in particularly the impact of WWII on its generation of writers, have to read Vonnegut, and have to read this book. Its an insight into the soul of a time period - not just its events, but its thoughts and discussions and philosophies; and in reading it, one gets insight on their own self.

6642behxhxb's review against another edition

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adventurous reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix

3.5

myweereads's review against another edition

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5.0

“All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I've said before, bugs in amber.”

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut is the story about Billy Pilgrim, a person who survives the worst holocaust of World War II. Years on he finds himself time travelling and is kidnapped by aliens. Through this he begins to see the reality of life and death and shares it with the people of Earth.

A true modern classic, although first published in 1969, I find it eerie at how it speaks of the condition of the world today. Vonnegut is know for his satirical style of writing which is very much present in this book. I particularly liked the sci-fi element of this story. There are various themes that challenge ones perceptions about what is going on around them. The constant back and forth structure of the book is one that troubles a lot of readers, Ive never found it hard to follow.

The protagonist Billy becomes unstuck in time and begins to live random moments of his life including him being in a slaughterhouse, psychiatric hospital and being kidnapped by aliens and put naked in a zoo exhibit. All of this sounds crazy and comical and what Vonnegut has done is to use this humour to explain the realities of war and society today. What I find ironic is that he’s an optometrist, this can be perceived as him being the vision of the world through what he tries to preach to the people of Earth.

The main messages that speak out from this novel is about Vonnegut’s view on irrationality, self - destruction and our own inhumanity. “And so it goes..” is a phrase used several times throughout this book and it refers to attitudes towards the fact that some things just are and have to happen.

This cleverly written novel will always go down as one of my favourites by Vonnegut and I challenge everybody to read this banned book to gage a vision of the world Billy Pilgrim lived in and compare it to the one you live in today.

meenaaa's review against another edition

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4.0

'Slaughterhouse-Five' is one of those books which I thought was gonna be some way and it turns out another way. Its a nice book. I really liked it. This is a book where you'd wanna read the book with a highlighter because there are so many great quotes. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. has a wonderful mind and the way he makes a sentence and writes is so unique. My favourite quote was this one:
"The most important thing i learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All the moments, past, present, and future, always have existed and always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just the way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever. When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in a bad condition in that particular moment, but that that person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when i myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, wich is 'So it goes."