Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is a story about time travel and war and a fascinating character who just refuses to fight for a useless cause and he chooses to stand down and not take the path of war.
His name is Billy Pilgrim, an unstable fellow at first who comes from the fiction town of Ilium in New York and he believes that he was abducted by aliens and taken in an alien zoo as well as he is convinced that he can time travel which sounds absurd to everyone else. For more information about the book, check out our list of the best time travel books!
He lives in a time of a horrible war, more specifically, in the middle of the devastating World War II. He proves to be a not very fit soldier in the American army and he is just not someone who will go and fight in the middle of all the destruction caused by a meaningless war. Choosing to stand down and not fight back, Billy is eventually captured without any resistance by the Germans in 1944 during a battle known as The Battle of The Bulge.
There is one slight detail that we can’t afford to miss in this Slaughterhouse-Five book review because it will prove most important later on. Before Billy is captured, he meets a guy known as Roland Weary who is a sadistic bully and warmonger who constantly picks on Billy because he doesn’t like him and thinks that he is a huge coward.
After the two eventually get captured together, Weary has quite the suffering in store for him as the Germans take everything that he has and make him wear wooden clogs that eventually cause Roland to develop a serious case of gangrene which he blames all of it on Billy.
Just before Roland dies, he convinces a fellow soldier that was captured with him that Billy is to blame for what has happened to them and for the suffering and death that is inevitable for Weary. The soldiers who hear this news, Paul Lazzaro, vows to take revenge for Roland’s death and make things write by killing Billy.
A few pages later, you find out about an even more catastrophic event in this book review of Slaughterhouse-Five that involves a massive bombing on a German base called slaughterhouse-five which is where Billy and some other prisoners were taken. This base was located underground so the bombing that lasted two days had very little effect on it.
After things calmed down, everyone from inside was either captured or liberated and Billy’s life could finally continue. The main character was however not left without scars as he was very soon hospitalized with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as he was definitely acting out of the ordinary.
His dangerous adventures didn’t end there as in the next pages and in this book review of Slaughterhouse-Five, you find out that not long after the war, Billy was taken by actual aliens and was taken to a faraway planet called Tralfamadore. The Tralfamadorians were an alien race that likes to collect different species and put them in their intergalactic space zoo, a place where Billy was placed in.
A lot of new and exciting twists follow after these series of events as you find out more from the book itself rather than in this Slaughterhouse-Five book review, things like Billy’s family and kids and a lot more. For more amazing books written by Kurt, check out our selection of the best Kurt Vonnegut books!
The time travel part of the story is up to you to discover as it brings many more exciting twists to the overall plot of the novel, this one is definitely a must-read for any science fiction fan who likes to read about time travel and other strange and fascinating phenomena. Speaking of being a sci-fi fan, don’t miss out on our article about the best science fiction books ever!