Books Change Lives: Guest post by Kerry on Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Life sucks for everybody, for the most part. At least that's the general consensus I get from my friends. Almost everybody hates their jobs, gets in arguments with their families, and experiences some bad luck. But life is also great for everybody, too. Everybody also laughs at stupid jokes, cheers for the good guys, and smiles when they see a baby giggle.

I've learned a lot about writing from reading a lot of books. One book has taught me more about living than any of those books.

Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five is a book that millions have read, and gobs of people have heard of. I have read this book a million times, and I get something out of it each time I read it.

How this changed my life was that it showed me, through some very tough times, that everything that happens to you is part of who you are. Not what just happened to you. Not what happened to you 10 years ago. Not what is going to happen to you 10 years from now. Not just the good things, and not just the bad things.

It's written as a collection of memories that happened to the main character, but they aren't in any order whatsoever, but they all have their place in one man's life. And it's not confusing. All of us are like that, and we have to roll with the ups and downs of this crazy roller coaster ride, and - consciously or not - we are always reflecting on our own experiences and how they affect what's happening to us.

Nothing is as devastating as we make it out to be. The sun always comes up. The sun also sets on all of our good times. Remembering and using all of those things make each one of us who we are.

This book has helped me stay grounded during life's good times, and stay positive through life's real bummers. Every time I read it, it shows me how great our collection of experiences are to everything that has happened and is going to happen to us.

Like any book, it's probably not for everybody. But I strongly feel that anybody can relate to the message of this book. It's made me look at life differently and appreciate all the things that happen - whether they make me laugh or cry. I'm not perfect, but Slaughterhouse-Five has shown me that everything in my life fits together perfectly, whether I realize it right away or not.


K.C. Collins is a newspaper reporter delving into his first try at writing a novel. Follow the ups and downs of this writer's process of discovering how to write all over again, check out his blog On the Write Foot at

This guest post is part of Book Change Lives September, on Hey! Teenager of the Year. To read all the guest posts, click here.
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