3. Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut
Another Vonnegut??? Already?!? But you said he was crazy! I know, I know. Not only am I already doubling up on an author, but also, if I really love Vonnegut how could I not have read his most famous work? Well, that is the exact question that went through my mind when browsing through the fiction section. Though I had relished in his more obscure works somehow it had never been convenient to read his most influential book. I decided it was a wrong that needed to be righted immediately. As I cuddled into my recliner swaddled in a fluffy blanket vague rumors of the content of the novel swam around my head. Something about World War Two, the deglamorization of war, and growing up. I wasn’t really sure. I figured it would be something of a modernized All Quiet On The Western Front with a stronger political position. I could not have been more wrong. Vonnegut juxtaposes the harsh reality of the war with fantasies of time travel and aliens. I suppose it can be read as a science fiction novel, but it’s most likely intended to be interpreted as a statement on the tragic effects of war and PTSD. We see men broken down into boys, into shells of their former selves, during and after the war. Though it is sprinkled with Vonnegut’s peculiar sense of humor, it is a truly heartbreaking tale. It is something that everyone should read, not only in order to grasp a better understanding of postwar America, but because it is a genius and touching piece of writing. Prepare to suspend time, open yourself to unconventional occurrences, and surrender to the world of Vonnegut’s protagonist, Billy Pilgrim.