Book Review: ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ is a Story You Wish You Had Read Sooner


Chloe Saldanha, Copy Editor

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. It is completely and utterly undeniable genius. 

I have always heard many good things about “Slaughterhouse-Five”, but none of them did justice to the book once I finally read it. The absolute brilliance of this novel is blinding and nearly impossible to accurately convey.

In the first chapter, Vonnegut talks about how he knew he wanted to write a book about the Dresden and the war, but he could never figure out how to frame it properly. He talks about his struggle trying to find something important to say about it that hasn’t already been said. Vonnegut compiles this book using both his feelings and his recollection of the war, as well as his wonderful storytelling skills. This book is the result of his war experiences; this is the ultimate satirical anti-war novel. 

The book follows Billy Pilgrim who has “come unstuck in time”. He experiences the core events of his life jarringly and not in chronological order. He jumps through time, unable to control what will happen to him next. Billy never seems to understand where exactly he is, and he never gets shocked, even when the most bizarre things occur. His character is, for a lack of better words, the quintessential high schooler who has no idea where they are or what is going on.

Each portion of the story that happens is a defined turning point, rather than just another page of forced dialogue to push the plot forward. Everything that happens has meaning and adds to the story. Nothing there is wasting your time unnecessarily. This method of writing allows his novel to progress rather quickly and leaves the reader satisfied and content.

The one thing that does remain constant throughout the novel is the phrase “so it goes”. Vonnegut uses it every time someone in the book dies. Those three simple words are what ties these seemingly unrelated events together and elaborately manages to connect his fictional universe to our reality. It turns this book from the delusional hallucinations of a madman into the work of a maestro.

The novel is a collection of ultimately important and eventful stories. The entire book is remarkable. “Slaughterhouse-Five” ends with the much-acclaimed bombing of Dresden and on a somewhat surprising note.

The book is complete insanity, but in the best possible way, that only Kurt Vonnegut could ever dream of writing. “Slaughterhouse-Five” is the book you will regret not having read sooner.