Review: Breakfast of Champions

The book this week was ‘Breakfast of Champions‘ by Kurt Vonnegut. Now before beginning the review, let me first tell you, that this was my first Vonnegut book. I have never read him, never heard about him and I can’t very well recall where I heard about this book but I did hear some good things about it and so I picked it up from my library.

It turned out to be a ‘different’ book, I know I said that after doing 3 mythology genre books I wanted to read something different but this book was way too different. It’s hard for me to say if the book was good or bad.

However I would honestly concede that I didn’t understand the book completely (I think that I understand some part of it but even that is debatable).  I did get that part (at least) that the book was sort of satire on American issues, it was humorous but the entire book was so full of it.

The story is based on two weird man who crossed the paths and weirder things happened, Dwayne Hoover a Midwest car dealer and sci-fi novel writer Kilgore Trout are the main characters. Apparently Kilgore Trout’s character has been there in earlier Vonnegut’s book too. The book even has some funny sketches drawn to drive home the point.

The book tackles most of the big & small issues plaguing America in a funny way, such as war, sex, racism, politics, etc and it does it in a unique way which I (at least) have never heard or read before. I have been exposed to some of the american jokes (satire would be a big word for those guys) by the likes of Colbert, Jay Leno, etc. but Vonnegut take is different.

I did follow some part of the book and I think I did understand what the author was trying to say but then there were instances where I thought may be I am not following or the author was drifting. By the end of the book it became all the more difficult to understand when the author introduces himself as a character.

Honestly speaking it took me an effort to complete this book and because I am exposed a little to american culture, understand their lifestyle, a few of their issues, their politics, etc so I was able to follow some part of it. For an average Indian reader who is not so much familiar with all these this book will do no good.

Also even though as this book is a bestseller and also turned into a movie (starring Bruce Willis and I think the movie crashed at the box office) , I don’t really think that every person who read it understood it completely or understood what the author was trying to portray. May be it was sold and even embraced more for its shock value than anything else, which I don’t despise but surely its success could have different reasons than mere readers liking the story.

So that’s about it, I have tried to put my honest review of it and surprisingly as I said earlier, it’s difficult for me to describe this book in one word nevertheless I am happy that I have read it and certainly I did not hate it and most definitely it is not a low quality writing. Although I might be a tad bit cautious in future before picking up Vonnegut.

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