It’s easy to see why Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut is a classic.
Written by a veteran and former prisoner of war, Slaughterhouse Five has a point of view uncommon for the general public.
SH5 is anti-war, using humor to make light of a horrid situation.
But unlike other anti-war stories, like Catch-22, the story doesn’t focus solely on the war.
Slaughterhouse Five follows Billy Pilgrim through various events of his life.
Pilgrim is unstuck in time, meaning his consciousness can be at any point in his timeline.
Sometimes he’s in Europe during World War 2. Other times, he’s managing a successful optometry business.
Then there are the parts where he’s abducted by aliens and housed in a zoo for all the extraterrestrial onlookers to see.
Pilgrim’s story isn’t in chronological order. The constant shifting reminded me of Pulp Fiction‘s continual shifts.
The constant jumping about can be confusing at times, but for the most part, Vonnegut handles it masterfully.
Conversely, because the story jumps around, we don’t learn much about any of the characters.
Vonnegut runs a story with lean characters. If you need Cormac McCarthy level character development, this isn’t for you.
Regardless, Slaughterhouse Five was an entertaining story and shouldn’t take up too much of your summer reading time.