Slaughterhouse-five, Or, the Children's Crusade

Slaughterhouse-five, Or, the Children's Crusade

A Duty-dance With Death

Book - 1994
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Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1994
Edition: 25th anniversary ed
Description: xiii, 205 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
ISBN: 9780385312080
0385312083
9780385333849
Branch Call Number: Vonn
Additional Contributors: Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-five

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t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Aug 12, 2020

Slaughterhouse Five: A gleefully absurd, wonderfully satirical war novel with beautiful writing. "Everything is beautiful, nothing hurt" is a quote in the novel that sums up the afterthought it leaves the reader with. A rough, hurtful period brought to exuberant, beautiful life by Kurt's ambitions.
Writer Kurt Vonnegut smartly puts together a plot that's wonderfully detailed and filled with many well fleshed-out subplots to make this novel a truly intricate, layered one that reflects the writer's ambitions.
One of the novel's biggest achievements is how it manages to bring the time of WWII alive with the detailing. Vonnegut uses events like the bombing of Dresden to truly make this one a sensory experience, making us a part of the story as well.
He also manages to do justice to the amalgamation of genres he's put forth. He beautifully infuses clever themes of sci-fi that manage to show his creativity, alongside a wonderfully satirical take on the geopolitical tensions that plagued the novel's setting. Vonnegut also packs in a great deal of black humor, having the reader laugh even at the tensest times.
The novel also benefits from superbly written characters, particularly the protagonist Billy Pilgrim. There's a lot of layers attached to his character that make him quite relatable, and palpable. The antagonist of this tale isn't your run-off-the-mill antagonist. He's a weak man who aims to attain popularity, but there's a semblance of goodness in him.
The novel is overlong, and despite the intricate detailing, some readers can notice the drag. The non-linear approach, at times, proves to be a tad troublesome, especially during the middle part of the novel.
Yet, there's a lot going in favor of this intriguing anti-war novel that makes it a compelling read. Through Vonnegut's layered plot, we get a wonderful satire, filled with intricate detailing, tons of black humor and the writer's own subtle take on politics. 3.5 stars.
@SSGDP of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Just finished Kurt Vonnegut’s “The Children’s Crusade,” I could find no error. A short & intriguing read. Now, you might get queasy about its trivialization of death- the protagonist's trivialization of death, I should say, the novel makes very apparent, the horrific conditions of war, wartime cruelty & the countless deaths of the Dresden firebombing in 1945- through Billy Pilgrim’s perpetuation that time is an illusion & every event in one’s life is simultaneously occurring. He adopts this view from his alien captors who see the events of their lives, altogether & try to focus on the good parts. But, these aliens represent the choice to focus on the good times as opposed to the bad, something Billy does not seem to have the ability to do. So, he is hucked back & forth between some of the most pivotal parts of his life (bad & good), trying to make sense of it all. And, when faced with the events of war & poor fate, comes to the same conclusion as the birds that populate a ruinous Dresden, poo too weet. I would recommend - a harsh, darkly humorous look at the fragmented life of a veteran as he lives with his memories & delusions. 5/5 stars
@reviewperson of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

d
Drosselme1er
Mar 03, 2020

As long as this wretched book is required reading, teen suicide will continue to climb.
It makes one want to slit ones wrists and do pushups in alcohol.
Only reason I gave it a 1/2 star was because spelling was acceptable.
YOU WILL NEVER GET THE TIME BACK THAT YOU WASTED ON THIS CRAPPY BOOK.

e
evanbrow
Jan 17, 2020

Perfect. Visionary. Ground-breaking and relevant to this day. This novel blew me away with every scene, every choice, and every time-skip. It is hilarious. It is tragic. It is impressively creative.

IndyPL_SteveB Oct 11, 2019

Indianapolis-born Kurt Vonnegut’s most well-known novel.

Some writers emphasize characters or plot or philosophy. In *Slaughterhouse Five*, at least, Vonnegut appears to be using ideas pulled out of a hat, or maybe just the bag of his own war-inflicted PTSD. Vonnegut’s novels have very little structure and tend to bounce around, although even the bouncing around serves to tie elements of the books together in surprising ways. So stick with it, because it all adds up to something bigger.

*Slaughterhouse Five* is the name and number of a building in Dresden, Germany where Kurt Vonnegut was taken as an American prisoner of war in 1945, just a few days before part of the city was destroyed by an intense Allied Fire-bombing. The bombing is the centerpiece of the life of his central character, Billy Pilgrim, trapped in the slaughterhouse basement while the bombs fell. Perhaps because of the bombing, Billy becomes “unstuck in time.” In his mind, he jumps back and forward in time from his birth and school days through his military service, marriage, fatherhood, airplane crash, and eventual death. He also is (or believes he has been) kidnapped by aliens from the plane Tralfamadore, who place him in a zoo and teach him the truths of the universe. Aside from the bombing of Dresden, which Vonnegut obviously thought was unnecessary and inhumane, even for war, the plot doesn’t matter as much as Vonnegut’s wry observations on life, death, and the silliness of human beings.

IndyPL_SteveB Oct 11, 2019

Indianapolis-born Kurt Vonnegut’s most well-known novel.

Some writers emphasize characters or plot or philosophy. In *Slaughterhouse Five*, at least, Vonnegut appears to be using ideas pulled out of a hat, or maybe just the bag of his own war-inflicted PTSD. Vonnegut’s novels have very little structure and tend to bounce around, although even the bouncing around serves to tie elements of the books together in surprising ways. So stick with it, because it all adds up to something bigger.

*Slaughterhouse Five* is the name and number of a building in Dresden, Germany where Kurt Vonnegut was taken as an American prisoner of war in 1945, just a few days before part of the city was destroyed by an intense Allied Fire-bombing. The bombing is the centerpiece of the life of his central character, Billy Pilgrim, trapped in the slaughterhouse basement while the bombs fell. Perhaps because of the bombing, Billy becomes “unstuck in time.” In his mind, he jumps back and forward in time from his birth and school days through his military service, marriage, fatherhood, airplane crash, and eventual death. He also is (or believes he has been) kidnapped by aliens from the plane Tralfamadore, who place him in a zoo and teach him the truths of the universe. Aside from the bombing of Dresden, which Vonnegut obviously thought was unnecessary and inhumane, even for war, the plot doesn’t matter as much as Vonnegut’s wry observations on life, death, and the silliness of human beings.

c
CuriousQT
Nov 06, 2017

I particularly enjoyed the Audio CD format of this novel read by Ethan Hawke. He is very engaging.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Nov 05, 2017

Even though Slaughterhouse Five was about the extremely brutal Dresden Bombing in the second world war, Kurt Vonnegut’s book isn’t depressing at all. Instead I found it quite funny because of Kurt Vonnegut’s ability to make weird but at the same time quite likable characters and the overall absurdness at almost every moment in the book. The main character Billy Pilgrim was especially absurd and broken from his experiences in the Dresden Bombing. Billy wasn’t much of a protagonist since he didn’t really confront anything like a normal hero would. Instead he was just thrown about through different scenarios, probably a commentary about how little an individual person could do when inside humongous events like wars. However, instead of recounting terrible stories of war Billy’s mind jumps between absurd memories of soldiers pooping so hard they thought they would poop their brains out to imagined trips with bizarre aliens. This makes the book a pretty enjoyable and easy read since Kurt Vonnegut's commentaries on war aren’t explicit so the book doesn't get very dark.
-@CookieMonster of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

c
Cate03
May 01, 2017

Wonderful and gripping. Hard content at times but well written

t
TechWriter1
Aug 05, 2016

Just as good as when I read it in college. A great anti-war story.

Ham625 Apr 24, 2015

A good thoughtful read.

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superfireball6
Mar 07, 2019

Slaughterhouse five was interesting overall but was very hard to read because of all the setting changes that happened throughout the book. I would rate this book five out of ten. This is a result of a lot of the problems that were in the book that made it hard to follow and boring at times. I liked the story overall as it followed Billy Pilgrim through different parts of time and through his life. The different events that happened through Billy life are interesting and bring life to the book that most books don’t have. Also the book is written as if Billy Pilgrim is revisiting the past and already knows what is happening throughout the story. For example he knows when certain events are about to happen to him. I like this because it brings the character out in a different way and new light. However the parts that stuck out the most were the parts that were hard to follow. Without giving anything away this book really flew from moment to moment. For example the main character Billy would be in World War II for two paragraphs and then be in a different part of his life for the next few pages. This could cause trouble to a reader who is not paying full attention to one part and then comes back to read it again the next day that reader will be lost and confused if they don’t remember what happened from last time they read it. I would suggest reading this in a group setting for a book club or for english class as a assigned reading book. I believe this would fit well in that setting because this book is a great book to talk about and analyze but not a great book to read by yourself

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