Wednesday, September 15, 2010

So. Kurt Vonnegut.

Where to start? I just finished Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, and when I say "just" I mean: I closed the book, having read the last page, and opened a new window in Safari, and TA-DA here I am. There are so many things that I want to say about this book that I'm somewhat at a loss.

To start off: having been an English major and an avid reader, I'm a little surprised that it's taken me this long to read a Vonnegut novel. I've spent years feeling guilty and sub-par and unintellectual for not having read one of his books. No more. I've now checked that one off my list and feel no need to ever read one of his books again. As I told one of my friends: I learned words that I didn't know I didn't want to know.

With that said, I found the last half of the book infinitely more intriguing than the first; Vonnegut is an exceptionally intelligent writer; Breakfast of Champions gave me a lot to think about; and, surprisingly, I (mostly) don't regret reading it. There were many times in the first hundred pages or so when I wondered why I was still reading, but when everything came to a head and Vonnegut actually began tying things together...then I started feeling like it was worth it. I think the turning point for me was when Vonnegut introduced himself into the novel as a sort of deus ex machina, which added a whole new level of interesting crazy. Personally, I'm glad I don't live in his head. I may not have a bunch of best selling novels under my belt, but I manage to ape at least some measure of sanity.

Interestingly enough, in my quick googling of Vonnegut, I found out that he graded all of his work. He gave Breakfast of Champions a C. Does that mean I should give one of his grade A books a try? I'm not sure I'm ready to plunge back into his odd little universe quite yet.

One last thing, I did kind of enjoy his hand drawn illustrations. How many authors tell you about a bucket of fried chicken and then say: "And this is what it looked like" and show you?

So. Kurt Vonnegut. All right then. And moving on...

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