Kurt Vonnegut Dead, or I Weep for the Loss of a Great Satirist

Sad news about Kurt Vonnegut.

 I admit I’ve not read nearly as many of his books as other fans have.  My first experience was in the summer before eleventh grade with the book “Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday.”  My parents saw the book lying around and thumbed through it, discovering – among other so-called tasteless aspects – Vonnegut’s drawing of an anus and discussion of how filing off ones fingerprints ever so carefully made one more sensitive to fingering a women’s clitoris.  This caused somewhat of an outrage for my parents, who sent a letter to the school board questioning the decision to place such a book on the reading list for high schoolers.  The school board was mostly unresponsive, saying that it did not have the book in the high school library and leaving it at that.  I also explained to my parents that I was rather annoyed at their sudden care for my reading material; I had read much worse without a single complaint from them in the past.  Being reasonable folks (a quality for which I always loved and respected my parents) they eventually relented in their objections (at least verbally). 

I adore satire; I’ve never read one that I didn’t like, and Kurt Vonnegut was a master.  I would later read “Galapagos.”  I found it on a bookshelf at my first job in healthcare, working night shifts at a halfway house for people with brain injuries.  The surreality of the book fit nicely with the often dreamlike occurrences that are par for the course in a place where insanity rules the day.  The devolution of humanity portrayed in the book interwined seamlessly with the occasional screams, raving fantasies, and strange stories of conversations with Satan that were a constant during that Spring of 2001.  For more reasons than these, I left there after just four months of employment.

A sad loss.  Candidates for taking his place: Bret Easton Ellis or Chuck Palahnuk.


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