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.