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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it now.
I'm not entirely sure how or why I came across this delightful book, but I am thankful that I did. The illustrations really do help to elevate this book into utter hillarity, as do the insane characters, which upon first impression don't seem central to the plot at all. Eventually though, everything comes together in what has to be one of the most bizarre endings I have...
Published on 11 Sep 2005 by woody5131

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a book, Jim
So, I'm not quite sure what I made of this book.

I read it a while ago now and it stayed with me for a while. Another reviewer mentioned the masses of ideas in it, the different devices and strange meandering style. I know I came away from the book slightly annoyed, it didn't really do anything I wanted it to do (which is fine, a book shouldn't do what I want...
Published 20 months ago by DingleBurger


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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it now., 11 Sep 2005
I'm not entirely sure how or why I came across this delightful book, but I am thankful that I did. The illustrations really do help to elevate this book into utter hillarity, as do the insane characters, which upon first impression don't seem central to the plot at all. Eventually though, everything comes together in what has to be one of the most bizarre endings I have ever read. Things that happen in this book just dont occur in other books. One of these things for example, is Vonneguts actual omnipotent presence in the book, he places himself in the story (with all the characters he has created at his mercy) to describe it like this in an amzon review does not do it justice.
Alltogether a briliant read, Happy 50th Kurt.
And so on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Vonnegut in biting satirical form., 15 April 2002
By A Customer
If you enjoy the bittersweet sardonic wit of American 'greats' like Joseph Heller ('Catch 22') then Kurt Vonnegut's seminal '70's classic should definately appeal. True, it is is technically different from the traditional kind of prose style, being written as a kind of retrospective journey through Vonnegut's own literary past, but it does contain the usual beginning, middle and end normally associated with standard prose fiction.
'Breakfast Of Champions' is Vonnegut's fiftieth birthday present to himself so it is tempting to see the whole process as some kind of mid-life clearing out of much of his literary characters, thoughts and, maybe even, aspirations, however don't let such a gloomy critical assumption deter from the comic genius that Vonnegut allows free rein during this emancipation of his fictional creations.
The plot centers around failed science fiction author, Kilgore Trout (said to be loosely based on real-life author Theodore Sturgeon). Trout lives an empty, post-modernist suburban American existence until his work is recognised by a warped but rich art collector who thinks that Trout is a genius, and possibly the saviour of mankind, (get the picture?) Thusly Trout relucantly sets out, Homer's 'Odyssey' style across mid-America, encountering all kinds of adventures, not least pushing automobile salesman, Dwayne Hoover over the brink of insanity along the way.
Vonnegut himself undertakes this 'journey' via the technical medium of naive, almost child-like narrative, which, if you think would make the story boring or irrelevant think again, Vonnegut pulls this off with both ease and style, and the result is that this is one of the few books that will ever succeed in making you think hard, laugh out loud and end by wanting to cry at the sheer idiocy of so called 'intelligent' mankind.
But hey! Don't take my word for it. The cover notes sing the praises for themselves and I, for one, have always agreed that Vonnegut does 'perform considerable complex magic' and manages to make 'pornography seem like any old plumbing, violence like lovemaking, innocence like evil, and guilt like child's play'. This book may be easy to read but it is frustratingly hard to put down and equally hard to forget.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Meeting of "Fabulously Well-To-Do" and "Doodley-Squat", 16 April 2004
You know that anything goes once you pick up a work by the zany and terrific Kurt Vonnegut. The man knows how to dish up satire like none other. He'll spew out his complaints about the government, the world, people, etc., and instead of making it sound like a bunch of inane ranting he uses all of that to create a crazy world filled with outrageous characters and situations. "Breakfast of Champions" is an off-the-wall novel that is about 300 pages of pure hilarity and comedic chaos. Some of the most outrageous characters lie within this masterpiece.
Listen: This story revolves mainly around two characters. There's Kilgore Trout who is an aging and bitter sci-fi writer that nobody has ever heard of (except for one person). His stories have only appeared in very adult magazines. So naturally, he has "doodley-squat" to show for it. The other person that this story is about is a car dealer by the name of Dwayne Hoover, a man that everyone in town considers a "fabulously well-to-do" person. Dwayne is losing his mind and is ever so gracefully slipping into the cozy and wonderful world of insanity. What pushes him over the edge will take place when the two meet and Hoover takes one of Trout's literary works as reality. The results are unforgettable and hilariously disturbing in this dark and offbeat tale of the flawed human beings who are destroying Mother Earth.
This amazingly written book is completely ADDICTING. I easily finished it within a week. Once you start you do not want to stop reading until you have finished. Very rarely does a book have the power to make me laugh aloud so frequently and carelessly. People must've thought I was on something when they saw me laugh so uncontrollably while reading this in public. Vonnegut's commentary as the overall storyteller provides us with such an enriching voice that really is the star of the story. He has also created some of the most memorable and certifiably insane characters ever to be witnessed by the world of fiction. Vonnegut cleverly attacks everything that is wrong in society and he does it in such a funny and witty way. His illustrations also add a lot to the story as well.
Reading a book like "Breakfast of Champions" reminds me why I want to be a writer. It also reminds me why we read in the first place. It is definitely a classic that stands on its own and will never EVER be duplicated. If you're looking for a "fabulously well-to-do" satirist that will never conform to the norm, Kurt Vonnegut is your man. If you have not read this book yet, I highly encourage you to check it out a.s.a.p.! It may not be your ordinary novel, but that's more the reason to read it, now isn't it? A definite new favourite that I will read again and again. -Michael Crane
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond the Postmodern Pleasurezone, 5 July 2001
By A Customer
This is it, this is the book that proves that literature still has something to offer. Vonnegut's style easily peaks in Breakfast of Champions, with the most humorous pathos known to man, making even satiric masters like Swift green with envy. Through his almost child like perception of modernity, Vonnegut strips down life to its bare essentials, and shows humanity for the inhumane thing it is. Vonnegut is the only man who can make me laugh whilst depressing me at the same.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Painfully true, and absolutely magnificent., 11 Aug 2001
This has to be the most hilarious piece of fiction I have ever read. The way that Vonnegut creates such interesting characters in order to show the failings of America is superb. No satirist has ever come this close to portraying America, and society in general, with such humour and verve. This book kept me up until 2 in the morning, as I could not put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUCH more than it seems., 27 Feb 2009
By 
Ryan R. Ashe - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Reading some of the blandly negative reviews on the site, I felt I should say something about the book - which is a great one, from what I can tell. One especially zealous reviewer suggested that Vonnegut inserts himself in the book to add an autobiographical element to the proceedings - but this is really not the case. I don't want to go on, suffice to say that the overarching theme of the novel is that of free will, and specifically how much of this is actually desirable. The narrator is an example of absolute free will. Vonnegut (not necessarily the same person as the narrator) allows his narrator tell the story in as ridiculous, digressive, anarchic a style as possible. This perhaps illustrates the idea that total free will is not necessary or indeed beneficial to rational happiness. This sort of thing is evident throughout the novel, with the story of the robot pimp etc. To be honest, 'Breakfast...' is just a totally interestng, thoughtful and lovely book. Everyone should at least give it a try. Just look closely, that's all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful stuff, 13 Mar 2013
By 
G. Robinson - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Breakfast of Champions (Kindle Edition)
I first read this novel 30 years ago. It is undiminished by the passage of time and remains a sharp, true lens through which Vonnegut examines and dissects the inhuman condition. Indispensable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut's unique mixture of hilarity and bitterness, 1 Aug 2010
By 
Paul Bowes (Wales, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Breakfast of Champions was Vonnegut's self-described "fiftieth birthday present to himself", and it's a more self-indulgent and loosely constructed book than his earlier novels. Nonetheless, it's well worth reading, not least because it's the least sentimental thing he ever wrote. It's also a form of disguised autobiography of Vonnegut the writer, seen through the lens of his nightmarish counterpart, the failed science-fiction writer Kilgore Trout.

Vonnegut is the funniest, most playful and light-handed of all of the postmodernist American authors (with the possible exception of Richard Brautigan, a lesser figure), and this approachability has harmed him among critics who think that difficulty and seriousness must be foregrounded at all times. Breakfast is an 'easy read' only in the sense that it is composed in accessible prose and is essentially comic in tone: the reader who thinks that Vonnegut's folksy manner and frequent recourse to visual and textual jokes conceal shallowness needs to read more carefully.

I find Vonnegut ethically serious in a way that contemporary postmodernists - like John Barth, for example - are not. What makes Breakfast work is precisely that Vonnegut keeps dragging the reader back from the verbal and structural games to contemplate the role of randomness, chance and the determined in human lives. The underlying vision is exceptionally dark: in some ways Vonnegut is an American Celine or Voltaire, absolutely sceptical of the value of human reason and good intentions in the face of human cruelty and stupidity. The result is a violent oscillation between comic situations and tragic implications. Vonnegut also exposes the bad faith frequently underlying the use of metafictional tropes - the author as character in his own book, for example - as no other author does. Vonnegut's fundamental suspicion of the value of fiction has never been clearer than it is here.

Breakfast of Champions is the last in the ten-year run of books that made the author's reputation. Four stars only because Slaughterhouse-5, Mother Night and Cat's Cradle are better controlled.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and thought-provoking, 21 Aug 2008
By 
Ian Gilroy (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It's hard to know how to sum this up but it's definitely one of the most interesting and funny books I've read in a long time. It plays with conventions - hand-drawn images interspersed in the text, repeated breaking of the fourth wall (including making the author a protagonist), frequent non-sequiturs and so on - and yet it doesn't come across as fussy or pretentious. It's a genuinely funny exploration of the author's mind and a satire on America and, despite containing an interesting passage that describes how traditional storytelling is a bad thing, I still always wanted to know what happened next.

This is a book full of interesting ideas and memorable characters and I'd recommend this to anyone open-minded enough not to freak out when confronted by the first hand-drawn sketch.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hillarious account of the American dream and reality but Vonnegut is not pulling any punches, 3 Nov 2009
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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Meine Schweiz.: Ein Lesebuch for the USA. It's surreal, it's short, and it's a thoroughly enjoyable account of Americana from a true master. I can still see Vonnegut's books being publicly burned in many a place in the US, not for being wrong or for their sarcasm, the vivd imagination and the outlandish ideas, but about being so right and the truth being, well, so unpleasant.

In my opinion a literary masterpiece and the drawings inside are priceless too :)
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Breakfast of Champions
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
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