Sunday, August 24, 2014

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

"In Breakfast of Champions, one of Kurt Vonnegut’s  most beloved characters, the aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. What follows is murderously funny satire, as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth."

Dear God, this man is not afraid of anything. He doesn't care whose feelings he hurts or who he offends, and for me, it's awesome. Because, honestly, every single possibly offensive thing laid out in this book is something that's been believed, said, or done by Americans at one point or another. No lie. He just says it in the simplest forms possible, and if people somehow find it more offensive than the way they'd been rationalizing the issue, that's kind of the point. The book's written as if trying to educate an alien race about America, finding simplistic and surprising ways to explain things about us. A lot of them are funny, most are fairly ridiculous, and all are eye-opening. I liked it a lot (disclaimer: I was raised by reformed hippies, so I have a healthy dose of cynicism about America, and that might tell you a little about whether you might like this book). This little gem popped up in the first chapter:

“1492. As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America. Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America for hundreds of years before that. 1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat, and kill them.” 
So yeah, that's a good gauge of his sense of humor. It's not for some, granted.
Now, I'd like to touch on the point that there's a reason this is in the adult fiction section.It's mature, in the very literal sense that you need to have a good measure of maturity for it to get its point across. If you start uncontrollably giggling at suggestive situations, maybe read this in a couple years. It's satire. It's got a message. And it was amazing. Anyway, there's a copy at Kettleson. If this looked appealing to you, I super highly suggest it. 4.5 stars.

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