In honor of Banned Books week, I read Slaughterhouse-Five for the third time. I was in high school the first time I read it, and I really didn’t care for it. I found it confusing and much of the anti-war message was lost on me.
I read it a second time about 6 years ago, and while I did enjoy it more then, it’s clear after my third reading that I enjoy it more and more every time. I’ve read probably around a dozen of Vonnegut’s books by now and there is just something so unique about his writing. I don’t know how to describe it, but I do know that if I picked up one of his books and started reading it, I would immediately know it was his. His voice is just that dynamic.
You all know that I adore Philip Roth and that I do believe him to be the best living American author. However, one complaint I’ve always had is that he doesn’t do soundbites well. Meaning, there aren’t sentences he’s written that can be taken out of the context in which they’re written and still be impactful. On the other hand, Vonnegut has a way of writing completely gut-punch sentences that just make you nod your head and wish you could drink some whiskey with the guy.
“I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone.”
In summation, I love this book and look forward to taking even more from it the next time I read it.