Sunday, July 3, 2011

Goodbye, blue Monday.

Book: Breakfast of Champions

Author: Kurt Vonnegut

Published: 1973 (Delacorte Press)

Pages: 302

Let’s see if I can sum this book up in one sentence:

Breakfast of Champions is the sometimes obscene, mostly absurd story of how science fiction author Kilgore Trout accidentally proves how dangerous ideas are when one of his novels mixes with Pontiac dealer Dwayne Hoover’s askew brain chemistry, bringing out Dwayne’s rampaging crazy and ruining lives in oddly specific ways that have unexpected universal impacts.

Yeah, well, that’s a nice plot write-up but you can probably find better on the book jacket.

The main thing I got from this book is how utterly fun reading Something With a Message can be. Vonnegut does that nifty little writing trick of putting ordinary words together to spell out absurd truths. I really liked how his narrative shifted almost randomly from microscopic to telescopic and back like he was playing with a hand-adjusted camera lens.

I have read the same sort of cynical, disillusioned with America, slightly meta and not completely linear kind of story before, so none of this shocked or imprinted me like it would’ve if I’d read it five or six years ago (except for his doodle of an asshole. I never knew something that’s just a big inked asterisk could make me blush while reading)—but Vonnegut is unique and has been for the past forty years, so I better shut my whippersnapping mouth about that.

He is a blast to read and almost as much fun to analyze.

Favorite quotes time!

“I can’t tell if you’re serious or not,” said the driver.
“I won’t know myself until I find out whether life is serious or not,” said Trout. “It’s dangerous, I know, and it can hurt a lot. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s serious, too.”

“And at the core of the writing meat machine is something sacred, which is an unwavering band of light.”

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