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Breakfast of Champions
Breakfast of Champions
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Emulating Tolstoy, who freed his serfs, and Jefferson, who freed his slaves, Kurt Vonegut bids farewell and Godspeed to all of the literary characters who have worked so hard for him over the years. Their unconditional liberty is the author's fiftieth birthday present to himself. Only Kilgore Trout, the science-fiction writer, is told the trut...  more »
ISBN: 49093
Pages: 303
  • Currently 4.8/5 Stars.

4.8 stars, based on 2 ratings
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio Cassette
Members Wishing: 2
Reviews: Member | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Leigh avatar reviewed Breakfast of Champions on + 378 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
At my psychiatrist's office one afternoon, his dog (who stayed with him all day) found my copy of this book on the floor beside my purse, and chewed it up. This dog was wise beyond her six months.

The disjointed writing and choppy style Vonnegut takes with this book is one that requires a lot of patience. Don't expect a flowing, typical book.

That being said, if you can get past the style, you might enjoy the story, itself, as it is unusual and quite funny in places. Still, I wouldn't recommend this one.
reviewed Breakfast of Champions on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Fantastic and funny, this Vonnegut book is the story of one of Vonnegut's favorite characters: Midwestern fiction writer, Kilgore Trout. Trout's zany adventures take him across country in search of the car dealer who is taking his fiction very, very seriously. Along the way, he meets up with some equally intersting people and more than a few wacky situations. All this adds up to a novel that is a very pointed satire on American life.
reviewed Breakfast of Champions on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Rating: 5/5

This is a great book in its own right, but it helps to have read various other Vonnegut books to recognize characters from them. The book has the usual easy-to-read zaniness of a Vonnegut novel, including crazies, witty dialogue, weird events and breaking the fourth wall.
reviewed Breakfast of Champions on + 160 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Breakfast of Champions is extremely funny! I especially like Vonnegut's illustrations; It is a very unconventional novel. Funnier than Slaughter-House Five. Highly recommended!
jeffp avatar reviewed Breakfast of Champions on + 201 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I was not impressed. This was a best seller and still is very popular, but I find it disjoint, without interesting plot, and full of social commentary that doesn't mean much of anything.
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terez93 avatar reviewed Breakfast of Champions on + 273 more book reviews
My favorite GR review of this profound work of whimsy and farce: "A novel is a dead tree with words on it. Breakfast of Champions is a great dead tree with words on it."

Amen. It certainly ain't a waste of dead trees.

The immortal Kurt Vonnegut's seventh novel was a fiftieth-birthday-present-to-self, which is useful to know, as it's written in a style which he himself would like to see, I think, as opposed to his audience, and, I have no doubt, his publishers, as it's also full of his pop-art-style doodles, including the famous " * " one. I'll leave out the translation of that one.

The story herein, replete with the usual Kurt fodder of life, death, sex, war, poverty, industry, and, here, more overtly than in his other novels, racism, chronicles the lives and times of two eccentricities, Dwayne Hoover, a loony Pontiac dealer from Ohio, and the beloved fictional science fiction author, Kilgore Trout, a loony obscure writer who perplexingly achieves the fame which has long eluded him, despite his Isaac-Asimov-like body of work (the latter of which reportedly wrote some 500 novels). Suffice to say, however, the former was certainly NOT based on the latter.

As farcical and fantastical as this novel was, it admittedly wasn't one of my favorite Vonnegut novels. It's an amusing romp through Kurt's head, but it just didn't hit home as some of his other novels have. Perhaps that's due to the general lack of a central theme (other than insanity, it seems), particularity the overarching sense of tragedy and futility which we twisted souls have come to love about Kurt's usual novels. Don't get me wrong: it's definitely worth the read, but it's a bit more lighthearted than the norm, more a crazy-quilt, Jackson-Pollock-esque painting of a novel that meanders all over the place, often into the irreverent, but it's appealing in that it remains ever colorful and full of mystique.

It's also one of the first instances I can recall of Kurt engaging directly with his characters, specifically, the aforementioned Kilgore Trout, who has a Nobel Prize in medicine coming, I'm informed. Maybe the crazy is the point: it is, after all, the story of two thoroughly nutty men whose insanity is compounded by their encounters with each other and the inexplicable circumstances confronting them. That's also something both Kurt and his zany characters have in common.
"And here, according to Trout, was the reason humans beings could not reject ideas because they were bad: 'Ideas on Earth were badges of friendship or enmity. Their content did not matter. Friends agreed with friends, in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagreed with enemies, in order to express enmity.'"

"I can't tell if you're serious or not," said the driver.
"I won't know myself until I find out whether life is serious or not," said Trout. "it's dangerous, I know, and it can hurt a lot. That doesn't necessarily mean it's serious, too."

And this book is being written by a meat machine in cooperation with a machine made of metal and plastic, incidentally,is a close relative of the gunk in Sugar Creek.

And at the core of the writing meat machine is something sacred, which is an unwavering band of light.

As three unwavering bands of light, we were simple and separate and beautiful. As machines, we were flabby bags of ancient plumbing and wiring, of rusty hinges and feeble springs. And our interrelationships were Byzantine.
reviewed Breakfast of Champions on
The story of an absurd confluence of events in a Midwest town is simply an excuse for the author to comment on America circa 1973. The story is dark and at times shocking, but overall it is a good read. The sketches sprinkled throughout the book add a unique twist and the irony can sometimes hit you in the face. Good book, although it is not for everyone. Very dark themes and some graphic material.
reviewed Breakfast of Champions on + 495 more book reviews
A classic!


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