I don’t remember ever reading a 300 page book in recent years at the speed at which I finished this one. Perhaps it was the finely drawn pictures, or the snipped segments that drove me through, or perhaps it’s a testament to Vonnegut’s prowess as a writer–either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
Vonnegut was just so surprising, even after setting us up with his prologue where he demonstrated the “maturity” of the book, and even given my knowledge beforehand that he was a “unique” author. Breakfast of Champions brought back to me just how mechanical my world is from a perspective I’ve never entertained–and Vonnegut is just so fresh, so surprising with his perspectives that I don’t think I can ever view a mirror again without thinking of it as a “leak”, or look at the events of my day without wondering if I am, in fact, a figment of someone’s imagination. And his ideas are so meta, as my Literature teacher would have put it.
Without going onto a rant about just how wonderful and inspiring the book was, since it’s fair to say that the world as a whole recognizes Vonnegut’s genius, I’ll go more into exactly what the book pushed me to think about, personally. There is, of course, the whole theme about what exactly humans are–are we no more than chemicals and machines? Were we once something more, but having eaten our own creator and defiled our dear mother earth, have we turned ourselves into nothing but robots? And, do we have free will? And if so, can we use our free will to turn back time, or at least turn back on the path we’re walking? And, of course, in terms of all the destruction we bring upon our Eden, what can we do about it? Is it just part of our nature? Was it written in our destiny be our author? Should be even try?
The important part, beyond idle musing, would be to take action on the issues that Vonnegut has touched upon, though the book isn’t much of a call to arms. The best thing that we can do, having absorbed this now into our conscious, would be to change our thinking, and to be aware of all the possibilities that open in every event that happens around us. We must consider things from the viewpoint of an alien visiting our strange planet, we must look at just how absurd, how quaint and story-like we can be at times, but we must also not let the humor cover the seriousness of the topics–and hence, we have black humor.
Vonnegut prods and pokes and opens up new dimensions, new roads of thought. I’ll muse on different levels, in different depths. And, of course, I’ll be looking forwards to Cat’s Cradle, as soon as possible.