Reading a Classic, Slaughter House Five: A Review

I was sure I had read this book back in 1969 when it was first published; in fact, I told someone I had.  This was not true.  I have read so many things about it, that I thought I’d read it.  Kurt Vonnegut’s semi-autobiographical, satirical novel deals with time travel and experiences during WWII.  It is strange, but strangely appealing.

Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist is not an appealing person.  In his PSTD and mental state, he thinks and recalls vividly that he had been abducted by the Tralfmadorians, beings from another planet. Pilgrim’s life journey, reflective of Pilgrim’s Progress, journeys through life and through time and recounts his experiences to the reader.  Some are quite believable, like living through the bombing of Dresden, others are not. Seeing a great many deaths of both friends and enemies and relatives, Billy Pilgrim accepts the philosophy of, “so it goes.”  He applies this to deaths of thousands as he does to those individuals ( like his wife) who are close to him . He is not actually pathetic, but neither is he charismatic…merely mundane .

One can not say he/she “enjoyed reading” the book, but it is a literary experience that I would recommend.

Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

8 thoughts on “Reading a Classic, Slaughter House Five: A Review”

  1. I tried reading this one when I was a student, but couldn’t get on with it. I found his attitude hard to take – but I don’t think I was taking sufficiently into account the fact that he was suffering extreme stress. Thank you for an excellent review, Rae.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey howdy
    I tried to read it last year and ended up giving my copy away. I’d heard about it my whole life and really wanted to give it a shot. I got half-way through before I gave up. I think the abrupt jumping around really threw me, and I wasn’t sure what the point was. My tendency toward over-analysis didn’t do me any favors because I couldn’t just let go and read it. I tried, but maybe it just wasn’t a good time to. Maybe another day I’ll check it out and try it again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe you’re not ready for it. I read it for the first time when I was 23 or so, but appreciated it after I’d done some reading about the atrocities of WWII, PTSD, things by Sinclair Lewis and John Updike about mediocre people and mid-life crises. Maybe you’re just not “there” yet, Hon.

      Liked by 1 person

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