Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

"Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt"

"And so it goes...."

I've been sitting here for a while now trying to figure out why I loved this book so much. Its one that has been sitting on my shelf for a while now and I've been told by countless people that "I just had to read it". Now while I don't have the same finesse with words that Vonnegut does I'm going to try and put in to words why you should read this book.

Slaughterhouse Five is the story of Billy Pilgrim who survived the bombing in Dresden and then went on to survive a plane crash but non of this was new to Billy, he knows how his life will turn out due to the fact that he can time travel and so the book jumps through different parts of Billy's life as he time travels. Oh and he also gets kidnapped by some Aliens, who show him that there is no free-will. Your life is already planned out for who, as they say it is only us 'earthlings' who believe in free-will.

Now I know from that brief description it sounds like a science fiction novel, but its far from that, an anti-war novel that contains fiction mixed with fact. Vonnegut's writing is witty and sarcastic and had me laughing out load at moments that shouldn't be funny. He treads a fine line between disgustingly horrific (having to burn the bodies of the dead because the smell is so bad) and humorously entertaining. The scenes in Dresden where breathtakingly sad, as was Billy's life, he marries a woman he doesn't really like, Billy isn't a strong character, he is weak and unable to stand up for himself and he ends up walking through life never really striving to be more because he knows how it all ends.

I suppose one thing we can learn from Billy is not to wish that we knew how everything will turn out and to never become complacent with our lives. Things may not go as planned but we should enjoy the many ups and downs that life brings.

My review has definitely not done this book justice, its easy to read but hard to understand. It will probably take me a few reads of this to make sure I get everything from it. So it goes.

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