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 marks my fiftieth year in AAUW (American Association of University Women). The Alvin chapter was begun in 1947, and as a new, green teacher to Alvin Independent School District, I joined in 1968. In the 80's we began a book group to share our love of reading, books,and fellowship with other women and girls who loved the same. We resurrected the group on-line in September of 2015. Eventually Powerful Women Readers folded as an on-line book club, but I kept the title and turned it into a blog. (See "Introduction,"first blog). This is my first experience at blogging or publishing anything and is becomes more fun with each blog posted. I am currently teaching as an adjunct at The University of Houston Clear Lake. This makes my 28th year there after three years at Alvin Community College and an almost-twenty year career as a classroom teacher with Alvin Independent School District. Reading and writing are "in my blood" just like teaching is. I hope you enjoy the blog.

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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