It’s a great little read of trippiness and humor and sarcasm… It also made me realize how much I dislike the saying; ‘doodley-squat’. I just kept thinking of Ned Flanders for some reason.
We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.
This book was first published in 1973 and I realized that the themes which call for satire and sarcasm were same back then as they are now. The human interaction, the madness, the primitive ambitions of humans- they haven’t changed. We, as humans, have simply grown more modern and more self righteous in our right to not be offended at any cost without realizing that the offence-power-button is in our own hands, the offendees! Vonnegut simply took what was staring him in the face every time he looked around and delivered it in a tone which is borderline accusing. Stab! We’re war machines! Stab! We’re government puppets! Stab! We’re slaves to the system.
Breakfast of Champions is a slippery, lucid, bleakly humorous jaunt through (sick? inhumane?) America circa 1973, with Vonnegut acting as our Virgil-like companion. The book follows its main character, auto-dealing solid-citizen Dwayne Hoover, down into madness, a condition brought on by the work of the aforementioned Kilgore Trout. As Dwayne cracks, then crumbles, Breakfast of Champions coolly shows the effects his dementia has on the web of characters surrounding him. It’s not much of a plot, but it’s enough for Vonnegut to air unique opinions on America, sex, war, love, and all of his other pet topics–you know, the only ones that really count
But that’s the beauty of this book. Some would take notice of the gentle guidance to open our eyes through the mighty laugh Vonnegut has over ‘every day life’ while others can’t see it and discount this book as weird ramblings. No harm done, no love lost. I don’t find anything weird about this book… It’s near every day life, in my own twisted thought processes…
Kilgore Trout once wrote a short story which was a dialogue between two pieces of yeast. They were discussing the possible purposes of life as they ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement. Because of their limited intelligence, they never came close to guessing that they were making champagne.
See the parallels in between yeast and humans? Yeast=human. To me, at least. This is how I like to translate this book.. Every scene of impossible translates into possible and probable events in my mind. I’m reading through the flowers… or as the correct term would go- in between the lines. So… if you swap ‘yeast’ with ‘man’- hey presto! We got a sentence that translates into life.
The matter of fact tone Vonnegut uses can either be amusing or annoying. For me, it was both depending on the sentence. Here is one of the most matter of fact sentences I’ve ever read in any book:
Fucking was how babies were made.
And then there were statements which made me wish I would have known Vonnegut personally. While the book may read as weird and trippy and fantastical, his intelligence still shone through. I wish I could have sat down with him and discover the secrets of the world while speaking in symbols, metaphors and gibberish.
Seems like the only kind of job an American can get these days is committing suicide in some way.
Most of us are committing suicide in some way on the jobs we’re working at. Long hours, no work/life balance to actually work to live, not live to work. Mortgages and debts eating away that salary we slave for in an endless loop until we die. Fuck the system. Why can’t we change the system? Why won’t we?
So, to finish off… Read Vonnegut. Read it however the hell you so please. Read it as entertainment, or read it as your next week’s horoscope. Read it to feed your thinking processes or read it just to say you’ve read Vonnegut. I wish I could write for a long time, picking snippets from the book and telling you what I think of them… but there’s too many good stuff there and we’d be here until next year…
I have to admit though- this book gave me tons of giggles as well… It has its vulgar elements, but they’re just so damn hilarious I felt like a 15 year old in a biology class! And then the tone turned more serious and … basically, a proper rollercoaster ride.
I’m going to love you and leave you with this very deep statement. See what sense you can make of it for yourself…
He had a penis eight hundred miles long and two hundred and ten miles in diameter, but practically all of it was in the fourth dimension.