Breakfast with Vonnegut

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

Grade: B

Breakfast of Champions is my least favorite Vonnegut novel so far. He said in the book that he was trying to clear his head, and the novel came off as deeply personal, but I don’t know enough about the man to say if he was serious or not. He also said that he wanted to be impolite. That I can say he was.

Don’t get me wrong. This book has plenty of Vonnegut’s trademark humor. It also has more than we’ve ever seen before of Kilgore Trout. Those are definite assets, but part of the problem with the book is that it’s recycled material. It covers much of the same territory as Slaughterhouse-Five, but without the same inventiveness and cohesiveness, so I recommend it only for die-hard Vonnegut fans who aren’t easily offended.

Listen: Here’s what happens. Dwayne Hoover, a man on the edge of insanity, meets up with Kilgore Trout. Trout’s strange sci-fi ideas take root in Dwayne’s mind, and the consequences aren’t pretty. That’s the surface story. On another level, the author deals with his own issues, including his mother’s suicide, and as the Creator, frees his alter ego, Kilgore Trout.

Next up in the marathon is Slapstick, published back in 1976 when I was but a wee lass.

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