Having discussed two Vonnegut novels on this blog already, it was only a matter of time before I turned to one of my favorite authors. This time I read what many refer to be his magnum opus, Slaughterhouse 5. When starting a Vonnegut book, you can never know what to expect. This is still the case here. The narrative perspective changes and can be confusing often, but it’s not too bad. For the discussion I’m going to stray away from plot and prose and just really focus on takeaways, as I find there are a lot in this book.
The main message I got from this book is that the world is absurd. There are so many contradictories in daily life that are impossible to understand. More importantly- as we see through Vonnegut’s blunt writing- more than often you are going to have to succumb to a high-power. This doesn’t make you a loser or chump, it’s just something that happens and you have to accept it. Wether it be directly an authority figure or an act of fate, your life will often be thrown for a loop and your’e going to have to deal with it. Nonetheless, there are still many ways to enjoy life, but also wrong ways. A simple solution to living with fulfillment is to find anything that brings you joy, and simply do it; wether it be something long term like a career or just reading something you like. These acts of enjoyment is the real key to living a successful life.
Furthermore, we shouldn’t try to rationalize every action. The phrase “so it goes” is often repeated in this novel. While a simple phrase, it holds weight. Things happen for no reason at all, and we should be ok with that. In conclusion, this book is full of important lessons taught with Vonnegut’s dry humor throughout. It is a great read and I highly recommend it to anyone.