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Monday, January 31, 2011


Written by Kurt Vonnegut

Reviewed by Bryan H., BCCHS student


Slaughterhouse Five is the story of Billy Pilgram, a man who is able to travel back and forth in time, seeing his birth, death and the rest of his life out of order. The author himself is also included in the novel as he describes the troubles he had with writing the story. Billy goes through many dilemmas in his life; however, in the beginning, he was a common man in New York going to the Ilium School of Optometry until he was drafted to the war to fight in the Battle of the Bulge. All of these incidents happen out of order in the novel and occur at different times as the memories come back.

After he is saved from the war and bombing hide-out, he goes back to the school he once attended, marries the daughter of the owner of the school, and becomes very rich with two children.

Billy is then kidnapped by aliens from a planet called Tralfamadore. He says they view time differently than humans do, and they see it all at once rather than in sequences as humans do, and all of this happens on the day of his daughter’s wedding. He says the reason for him not missing any time is because the aliens are able to travel through time and send him back so he didn’t miss anything or so no one else would notice. All this happens after he was in a zoo on their planet mating with an actress named Montana Wildhack.


The story told by Kurt Vonnnegut is well written but very difficult to understand, as the story jumps from time period to time period. Many of the adventures he tells of for Billy are complicated and contain many twists. One aspect of his writing I did appreciate was his description of writing the story from his own perspective. I did enjoy reading the many different points of view of the characters on many of the things that happened to Billy. I, however, did not enjoy that the characters are too simple in personality, as you don’t really grow to like any of the main characters. The theme is a little difficult to figure out in the story as well, as it may be against wars or just a novel for fun. However it is a famous novel and there are many references to this story over time and in other novels, so I do advise reading it, and it can be a fun read as well.

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