“How…?” she began, and she stopped. She was too tired. She hoped that she wouldn’t have to say the rest of the sentence, that Billy would finish it for her. But Billy had no idea what was on her mind. “How what, mother?” he prompted. She swallowed hard, shed some tears. Then she gathered energy from all over her ruins body, even from her toes and fingertips. At last she had accumulated enough to whisper this complete sentence: “How did I get so old?”
Confession: This is the first Kurt Vonnegut I’ve ever read. I have had several people urge me to read this, and several people admit that they would “friends-off” me if I didn’t like it. I have an unfortunate habit of not liking things a lot of other people like, so I was slightly concerned.
Of course, I loved it. Are we really surprised?
So what’s there to say about Slaughterhouse Five that hasn’t already been said? The fact that I already knew so much about this book, from its presence in pop culture to me scrolling through endless literary tattoo websites to see a thousand different versions of “So it goes” etched into someone’s wrists. Finally reading it closes the loop on my understanding – not having read Vonnegut sometimes made me feel like a bookworm “poser” – it’s just one of those things I feel like I was supposed to have done by now.
I believe that books enter your life exactly when they need to, and their meaning would be lost at any other time. I don’t think I would have enjoyed this as much had I first read it in high school. The same goes with me reading The Catcher in the Rye at 16 – that book changed my life, but if I were to read it for the first time now, perhaps it wouldn’t have that same effect (in fact, I know many people who first read that book as adults and hated it). Yes, I was late on the Vonnegut train, so it goes, but maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to happen.
So while I read Slaughterhouse Five in a condensed period of time (much like yesterday’s Marquez), it’s a book I know I’ll come back to, and I know I definitely need to read more Vonnegut now.
My bed is calling, so all I have to say to conclude this review is: “Poo-tee-weet?”
Books read: 9