Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Interlude: Breakfast of Champions

My brother lent me Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions. I decided to read it so I could give it back to him once he is back home from school. I read most of it yesterday while hanging out in various waiting rooms, but finished it today.
Breakfast of Champions reminded me of Mordecai Richler's Cocksure. Both books are satires. And both have a certain fascination with male anatomy. But I have to say, I enjoyed Cocksure more than Breakfast of Champions.
Vonnegut's book tells you what is going to happen pretty much from the get go. Two of his characters, the writer Kilgore Trout and the car dealer Dwayne Hoover, meet. Dwayne learns about one of Kilgore's books which causes his already unstable mind to go over the edge into insanity, and he hurts a number of people before being caught and sent to the psych ward of a local hospital. So while we already know the ending, the book takes us on the journey, showing what leads up to their fateful meeting and Dwayne's insanity.
Now, Kilgore Trout is an awesome character. He was invited to be a guest speaker at the opening for an Arts centre in Dwayne's town. So after initially refusing to show up, he decides instead to appear as the most destitute old man he possibly can. He finds an old tuxedo and hitchhikes across the US, staying in old movie theatres and having a grand adventure in his quest to show the uppity Arts people what it's really like.
Another feature of the book that I enjoyed were the illustrations. Vonnegut drew all of the pictures himself. While they aren't exactly the greatest pictures ever, they are extremely entertaining.
So overall, this book had some great things going for it. But I always felt like it was building up to something big that never really seemed to happen.

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