Favorite Authors 20 Years Later: Vonnegut

This November, I turned 35. A few days later the election happened. A few days later, my daughter turned 4. And so on.

On my birthday, I suddenly remembered a passage in a Kurt Vonnegut book I read when I was probably 15 or 16. I couldn’t remember the book, I couldn’t remember really much of the details except that the character Kilgore Trout ends up talking directly to the author, who is, of course, Kurt Vonnegut. Trout is imploring his creator, he howls his one request into the void: ” Make me young again!”

I looked it up and the book is Breakfast of Champions, by the way.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my life, how I’ve grown and how I haven’t. Vonnegut was the first adult author I read that really spoke to me. I adored pretty much everything he wrote, and more than anything I wanted to write like him. Though now, I only have vague recollections of what he wrote, so I thought it would be instructive to go back and re-read his books. Would they still resonate today?

So far so good, I think:

And here, according to Trout, was the reason human 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. … so they [human beings] were doomed.”

Breakfast of Champions