Billed as one of the 100 best novels of all time, and with my fabulous experience with Galápagos, my expectations for Slaughterhouse-Five were set very high. Did the book meet my expectations? No. Was I disappointed? Again, no. So it goes.
Vonnegut had a way about him. He was, and still is, able to entertain, while at the same time making deep, thoughtful statements about humanity. Slaughterhouse-Five takes a look back at World War II, and in certain ways all wars, and the futileness of it; even the futility of our own actions. It asked the question: Does anything we do really make a difference or is everything inevitable?
Slaughterhouse-Five is not written in a linear timeline, Billy Pilgrim bounces us back and forth between his own past, present, and future (if those concepts even really exist). This results in a book without a climax, there are no surprises along the way; Billy tells us what is going to happen and what has happened before we get to the critical moment.
What Vonnegut really focused on were his characters, or mostly just Billy Pilgrim. In a lot of ways Billy reminded me of a character from Seinfeld. He never really did anything, he just rode the wave of nothingness that life threw at him. But Vonnegut made him special. I was captivated by his lack of motivation and I wanted to follow him along on the ride of his life.