Happy Friday everyone!! I hope that your week has been well! Last Friday, I talked about two books that had an impact in my life and I really enjoyed writing that post (I hope you guys enjoyed reading it!). I read like crazy, it’s my favorite thing to do and I don’t know why I have been so hesitant to write posts on books but I decided that I’m going to start on Friday’s talking about the book I read that week! And we will see how that goes!
So today I want to talk about the incredible Kurt Vonnegut.
I really enjoy Vonnegut, he has such a unique writing style that in my mind is cynical, sarcastic, funny, captivating and truthful. And if you’re a fan of his then you’ll enjoy this book even more. (Personally, my favorite of his is “The Sirens of Titan”)
I wasn’t so much a fan of the story as I was his progression as a writer. “We Are What We Pretend to Be” contains two novella’s which are (as it says on the cover) his first and last works; containing “Basic Training” and “If God Were Alive Today”. Claimed to be semi-autobiographical these stories are, in my mind, an incredible though short timeline of his writing. His daughter wrote a forward for this book and not only is she a great writer too, it really help set up her father’s stories that you are about to read.
The stories themselves were entertaining and definitely held my interest but what I found more fascinating was how much his writing style evolved over the years. To me it seemed like I was reading stories written by two different writers.
“Basic Training” is a sweet story about a boy losing his parents and going to move from the city to farm country with his uncle and his daughters. It’s about love, loss, and life lessons, with usual Vonnegut twists.
“If God Were Alive Today” follows a comedian towards the end of his life and spending the night at a comedy club listening to his act. He is a very non-bs comedian who has had a lot of drug addictions and has been sober for a year or so. This story, is a lot more reminiscent of the Vonnegut most people know and are familiar with, with his dark humor and profound truths.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and because of the nature of these two works (being his first and his last and semi-autobiographical) I (or you maybe) feel closer to him. And it’s given me more appreciation for this author who I already thoroughly enjoyed.
Quote from Nanette Vonnegut from the Forward:
~ “My father did with words what Fred Astaire did with his body, something out of this world that no one else could possibly pull off. Even as an old man my dad defied gravity and did the audacious thing of creating something out of nothing.” -page xiii
Quotes from “Basic Training”:
~ “He felt wholly a stranger. None of the old, seemingly sweetly reasonable patterns of the past now applied. He was not actively melancholy-it was too soon for that. Rather, he was like a settler on his first day in a foreign land, bemused by his initial contacts with unfamiliar customs, not yet ready to admit that it would be those customs instead of his own that would enable him to remain and prosper.” -page 17
~ “Everyone seemed intent on worrying him into a pattern of their own making, rather than trying to understand what it might be like to be Harley Brandon.” -page 51
Quotes from “If God Were Alive Today”:
~ “He sure missed drugs, and he was now terrified, as he should have been all along, by their puissance and ubiquity.” -page 119
~ “He had discovered that the silence of a library, somehow always on the verge of uproar, could mute the twang of his need for drugs, provided he had a mission there.” -page 127
And that’s all she wrote! Have you read Vonnegut? What are your favorites of his?
Until next time,