Slaughterhouse Five

This was one of those books I pretended I’d read in college. Friends and professors mentioned it in discussions, my roommate often quoted it. In short, I assumed that it was a ground shaking piece of literature because the people to whom I look up seemed so entranced with it.

A few weeks ago, I was at the library without my trusty list of books I want to read. I both love and hate walking into a book shop or library without my list because I tend to go rogue, selecting books that I normally would never find, thus lengthening my to-read list. I picked up the only copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s book, figuring I could get through it that weekend. The short blurb intrigued me, since the book was set during WWII.

Overall, it wasn’t bad. The writing style is very simple and the book isn’t terribly long. The part that absolutely drove me mad was the narrator, which I found to be unreliable. (I know some people who love unreliable narrators, but I personally do not. I like to trust the narrator in order to feel more invested in the story.) There were constant time jumps, which I normally like, but these didn’t seem to add much new insight. The ultimate takeaway I got from the book was that war is bad, yet it is, in some ways, ordinary and mundane. And often the people who return from war come back fractured or broken in ways other than physical.

So am I glad I read it? Sure. It was quick, the style was simple, and I can now say I’ve read it. Would I read it again? Probably not, but I might try another of Vonnegut’s work. Will it go on my favorite books of all time? Nope.

Publication Info

Slaughterhouse Five, or the Children’s Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Delacourt Press, 1994 (first published in 1969).

ISBN: 0385312083

205 pages

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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Hey guys, I’m back! I know I’ve been gone a while, but I’m finally reading on a more consistent basis and wanted to share the book I finished last week.

This one by Tom Franklin had been on my list for over a year. I found it in one of those Pinterest lists of books you wouldn’t be able to put down. Crooked Letter takes place in Mississippi and flips between present-day and flashbacks to the 1970s.

Essentially, it’s the story of a man, Larry Ott, who was suspected of murdering a teenage girl when he was a younger. While he never confessed to the crime, and was never charged, the residents of his town ostracize him. So it’s no surprise that when a young college girl disappears from the county forty years later, Ott is accused of the crime. Silas Jones, the police constable who knew Larry when he was younger, leads the investigation of his former classmate. The two men’s stories intertwine as they discover secrets of their shared past.

That’s all I can tell you without spoiling the book. While I can’t say it was the most thrilling crime novel I’ve ever read, I’d certainly recommend it to anyone who wants a quick read with mostly sympathetic characters.

Publication Info

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. Tom Franklin. William Marrow, 2010.

ISBN:0060594667

274 pages