The cover of Slaughterhouse-Five


by Kurt Vonnegut

For the longest time I put Slaughterhouse-Five in the category of “books some kids read in high school.” I didn’t read it — I didn’t read Lord of the Flies or Animal Farm or 1984 or Catch-22 — and no big deal. I got others, like Great Gatsby, The Good Earth, The Razor’s Edge, and The Remains of the Day.

I picked it up for a short vacation read, and goodness … if I had read it in high school, I might be a very different person today. Vonnegut’s blasé commentary on the horrors of the war, tied to the science fiction of Billy Pilgrim’s time travel journeys, was such a radically new type of story to me. Novels have never interested me in the same way that non-fiction and science fiction do, but based on this I’m reconsidering my dismissal of those high school assignments. I’ll have to give Brave New World another shot.