Reviewed by: Laura Warren, Reference Assistant
Genre: Science Fiction
Suggested Age: Adult
What is the book about?: Jonah has set out to write a book called The Day the World Ended, which chronicles the activities and thoughts of important Americans on the day the atomic bomb was dropped. Jonah contacts the children of Dr. Felix Hoenikker, the father of the atomic bomb, and their story begins an unexpected journey full of both self-discovery, and humanity. Jonah is whisked away to a seeming Caribbean paradise in a plane full of bizarre characters. The island of San Lorenzo, its inhabitants, and those Jonah arrived with teach him about science, religion and truth. He also learns of Ice-9, Dr. Hoenikker’s final legacy, which could ultimately change the destiny of the planet Earth. Will this unlikely group learn from Bokonon, the mysterious, outlaw, religious leader of San Lorenzo, or will their folly change the fate of mankind?
My review: For such a small book, Kurt Vonnegut packs each page with an insightful, satiric punch. Though originally published in 1963 the social issues discussed throughout this novel are as relevant today as the first time Vonnegut put these ideas to paper. This novel frankly debates science, technology, truth, lies, and religion, in a way little fiction does. He is brutally irreverent, but shines a light on humanity, relationships, and the machine we all are a part of every day. He discusses religion with bravery as well as compassion. He encourages happiness as well as awareness, but with an ever present pessimism. This book is full of characters that are walking contradictions, just as we all ultimately are. The first time I read this book I was blown away by the discussion, insight, and dark comedy with which Vonnegut tackles very delicate issues that plague our minds daily. His insight and wit had me hooked in a way no other author hasduplicated. I return to this book often and come away with new thoughts and ideas each and every time. Kurt Vonnegut saw the atrocities human kind is capable of as a prisoner of war during the bombing of Dresden. Though this experience scarred him forever, he still roots for humanity, encourages us not to take ourselves too seriously, and above all asks us to be kind.
Welcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library. Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each Tuesday at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available. If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently. We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!