Slaughterhouse-Five, Or the Children’s Crusade

February 28th, 2011 Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Fiction, Kelly, Science Fiction

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five is a fascinating combination of science fiction and World War II that’s based on Vonnegut’s own experience of the bombing of Dresden. Protagonist Billy Pilgrim is “unstuck” in time the reader sees his life out of order, as he travels from different points of his life, creating an interesting juxtaposition of moments.

The science fiction and speculative elements of the novel give Vonnegut the leeway to make political and antiwar commentary, like the senselessness of executing a man for a petty theft while digging up hundreds of bodies. Pilgrim is an interesting main character, as he’s awkward, bumbling, and essentially goes along with the flow of his life without making strong decisions. He serves as a sort of puppet in the novel, buoyed along by forces outside of his control.

The occasional interruption of the narrator was an interesting device. I had essentially forgotten about the narrator until he popped up, sick, when Pilgrim and fellow captured soldiers arrived in a German prisoner-of-war camp.

On a side note, Slaughterhouse-Five was the 67th most challenged book from 1990-1999 and the 46th most challenged book from 2000 to 2009.

So it goes.

Title: Slaughterhouse-Five, Or the Children’s Crusade
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Read: February 2011
Source: Public Library






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