Book Review: Slaughterhouse Five


Having read a few spoiler free reviews of Slaughterhouse-Five prior to reading the book itself, I had an idea of what I was getting myself into. A story of war, death, capture, PTSD, and…alien invasion? I hold myself to a goal this year: read 12 classics. This is the first, and I can honestly say I’m at a loss as to how I should review this. Slaughterhouse-Five is the first I’ve read of Vonnegut, though certainly not the last. Vonnegut writes with such raw emotion, it’s not something I’ve experienced in this capacity. This isn’t to say my favorite authors such as JK Rowling, John Green, and Rainbow Rowell do not write in the same fashion. But, something about writing in such a way about war and death for events Vonnegut was individually present for leaves a different taste in my mouth. Slaughterhouse-Five has it all. It is a story that takes its reader as high as outer space, inside a flying saucer, and as low as corpse mines in the aftermath of the desolation of Dresden. It illustrates perfectly what happens when we as humans make mistakes and screw up, both on small and large scales. Many of the situations we find ourselves in are due to ignorance, stupidity, and shameless pride. The same can be said of the causes of war. Labeled as anti-war, this is a touchy subject when it comes to this book in particular. There are hundreds of reviews about this topic. Some say the book is pro war, and others defend the book, claiming it is in fact anti war. My opinion on this is simple. It’s neither pro war nor anti war. This book tells the truth about the ugly side of war: running around with people who despise you, having your shoes stolen, being forced to sleep standing up, torture, starvation, sleep deprivation. The possibilities are endless and not something any living being should endure. Yet sadly this is the reality we face as long as we as humans turn to violence instead of communication. What I liked most about this book was that it made me question everything. What was reality, and what was fantasy? I still don’t know. Obviously the story spoke to me. It took me places I’d never been. So why the 3 Star review? I found some mild annoyances in the story. So it goes. I understand the point of placing this phrase after every death (which was a lot), but that didn’t make it any less irritating. I didn’t connect with any of the characters, except maybe Derby, and even that was only a few times. However, in a book about death and war, I’m glad I can’t relate. This review is all over the place, but compared to Slaughterhouse-Five, it’s as organized as a Masters program thesis.

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