Monday, March 14, 2011

REVIEW: Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

book cover of Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt VonnegutTitle:  Welcome to the Monkey House
Author:  Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Date Published:  November 1, 1970
Genre:  Adult Fiction, Short Story Collection
Page Count:  302 Pages
Challenge: Forgotten Treasure Challenge

After I read Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel, I found my mother's copy of this gem hanging out on a bookshelf.  I really liked Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel, so I decided to pick this one up.  I have to say that I was not disappointed.  This is a collection of short stories that Vonnegut wrote between the 50's and 60's.  Some of them are science fiction, others are just stories.  And for the most part, I loved every single one.

"Where I Live" - This was just a meandering.  Honestly, it was a weak opening, but it got so much better.
"Harrison Burgeron" - I absolutely loved this.  Picture a world where everything is fair.  People have handicaps so that no one is more beautiful or smarter than anyone else.  That's the premise of this.  Even if you wouldn't want to read the entire collection, this is a must read.
"Who Am I This Time?" -  A small town with a phenomenal actor who has no personality except when he's on stage and a new girl in town team up for a play.  I liked this story. 
"Welcome to the Monkey House" - An overpopulated world, one where you can go to a clinic to commit suicide and where you have a pill that you must take.  A form of "ethical birth control.  This was one of my favorites.
"Long Walk to Forever" - Short and sweet.  Was published in Ladies Home Journal.  That should say it all.
"The Foster Portfolio" - Nothing Sci-Fi here, just says a lot about human nature.  I liked it.
"Miss Temptation" - A small town actress is brought down a few notches by a vet returning home.
"All the King's Horses" - How'd you like to play chess with real live chess peices?  This is a terrifying game, where if you lose, you die.
"Tom Edison's Shaggy Dog" - Honestly, this one didn't stand out to me much at all.
"New Dictionary" - This is another one that didn't stand out to me.  I wish I could remember more of this one.
"Next Door" - A little boy gets to stay home alone for the first time.  And all sorts of madness ensues.  I really liked this one.
"More Stately Mansions" - Who knew that interior decorating was such a big deal?
"The Hyannis Port Story" - Commodore Rumfoord is not a big fan of the Kennedy's.  Another one that didn't stand out.
"D.P" - I child in an orphanage meets his father.  This one didn't stand out to me too much.
"Report on the Barnhouse Effect" - A man finds an interesting talent, and becomes a weapon of mass destruction.  I really liked this one.
"Go Back to Your Precious Wife and Son" - A famous actress and her fifth husband do some remodeling.
"Deer in the Works" - A man goes to work for a large cooperation.  I honestly did not understand this story at all.  Probably my least favorite story in the book.
"The Lie" - A wealthy family's adventure to register their son for the boarding school that everyone in their family has gone to.
"Unready  to Wear" - This almost reminded me of the movie "Surrogates".  What if you could just leave your body?
"The Kid Nobody Could Handle" - A troubled teenager learns that actions speak louder than words.
"The Manned Missles" - About space exploration.  Letters between two fathers about their sons that had recently passed away.  Very good story.
"EPICAC" - What if machine's had minds of their own?
"Adam" - This one didn't stand out to me.  I can't remember what it was about for some reason.
"Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tommorw" - The world is overpopluated again, but this time its because no one gets old, due to a new anti-aging drug.

I really liked this entire book.  There were a few stories that just didn't stand out to me, but for the most part I liked all of them.  Overall, I would give this collection a 5 out of 5.

Think you might want to give this book a try?  Read other reviews or order from!  Welcome to the Monkey House

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