Top positive review
There's a lot more going on there than what's on the surface.
Reviewed in the United States on July 20, 2018
I remember reading this in American Literature class, and I always wanted to come back to it because it's just one of those books that I don't think reading it once will suffice. There's obviously a lot more going on there than initially meets the eye.
There's the obvious story, which is about Billy Pilgrim, a veteran and optometrist who is seemingly suffering from some sort of mental illness like PTSD from his time in the war, and also some sort of possible brain damage suffered from an airplane crash. These elements compound each other and Billy finds himself traveling through time to different points in his life; during his time in World War II, during his time with his wife Valencia, on a planet inhabited by the Tralfamadorians (who have him locked up as a human zoo exhibit), and a few others.
But then there is the author's underlying messages, one of which is about the utter senselessness of war. The Germans are making candles out of the Jews while Americans are melting German teenagers and we all know that the Soviets were starving tens of millions of their own while fighting the Germans. It's just a vicious cycle of death and evil.
The other message is a philosophical one. There's a very strong sense that there is no free will and there is also a sense of nihilism that no matter what we do, the outcomes are fixed, and the future unchanging.
I hope that the philosophical message isn't a correct one. I tend to side with those who believe strongly that we are in control of our fates and that no matter how dire the circumstances, we have the choice to make things a little bit better. Ironically I think Vonnegut has done exactly that with his book. He has made an impact with this book by bringing awareness to the evils of war.
Read the book. It's a good one.