We started this blog in 2010 after a New Years' Resolution to read 60 books between the two of us. (40 for C, 20 for D.) After reaching our goal, we decided to keep going in 2011. This year, C has pledged to read 30 books, and D will read 12. By no means are we professional reviewers; we're not even professional bloggers. We're just two people who love to read and decided to share our thoughts and offer our limited insights. We hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (10)

I need to preface this review by saying that I am an exorbitant Vonnegut fan.  I started Vonnegut my senior year of high school with Breakfast of Champions and have since read almost all of Vonnegut's ample catalog.  When I was working for my local paper, I actually wrote a Vonnegut review which he signed and is now hanging on the wall of my classroom.  I just thought you needed to know that I may be a bit biased in this review, but, at the same time, that dedication to one author should tell you a lot about Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s ability to enrapture an audience by revealing the missteps of our society while making you laugh along the way.

Welcome to the Monkey House is a collection of short stories, much like his other collection, Bagombo Snuff Box.  It does a nice job of showing how Vonnegut and his writing matured over the years, and how he became one of the preeminent satirist and humanists in literature.  His ability to build a world where humanity's, society's, and government's faults are highlighted with humor is unparalleled.

Some of the more memorable stories include:

"Harrison Bergeron," the story of a society in the year 2081 where people are handicapped according to their abilities by a government agency.

The namesake, "Welcome to the Monkey House," where people are forbidden to reproduce and are required by law to take a drug that numbs them from the waist down and a group that struggles to free society from this law.

"Report on the Barnhouse Effect," which is the story of one man who has learned to control an unseen "force" that turns him into a human weapon and his fight against government control.

"EPICAC," the story of a computer that learns to love.

"Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow," which tells the story of a family that can never die.

And much, much more.  With 25 stories spread over 300 pages, Vonnegut lays bare all of society's ills with his trademark humor.  If you're looking to get into Vonnegut, Welcome to the Monkey House isn't a bad place to start.

5/5 Stars


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