I haven’t been reading much lately. But I did finish Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut finally and it was an interesting novel. I’ve been a fan of his work for a while already and loved Slaughterhouse Five and The Sirens of Titan both of which were unconventional sci-fi stories.
Breakfast of Champions on the other hand is a more down to Earth novel but still has many distinct qualities of Vonnegut’s writing peppered in. The story revolves around Kilgore Trout (a sci-fi author) and as such is jam packed with 1-page descriptions of books that Trout had written.
The story focuses on the build up of a single event: a mentally ill man finally snaps because of a solipsistic Trout novel and goes on a rampage. It is less about the event but about the surrounding characters and their environment; Vonnegut describes the local high schools in the area, the adult correction facility which many African Americans and “gays” are sent to.
Vonnegut describes American in its glory and folly, a land of freedom and opportunity for some. The most sad thing about the novel is that while the novel was published in 1973, all of Vonnegut’s criticisms of America hold true more than ever. Racism, sexism, and inequality are all still large problems that need fixing in 2020. Overall I would say the satrical and witty comedy is worth a read and still ends with a touch of hope as it shows that even a single person (Kilgore Trout in this case), can cause change in magnitudes.
Rating: 7/10, not my favorite Vonnegut book but definitely worth your time.