• J.D. Mitchell

Should You Leave This Cat Outside?

Updated: May 13

Cat’s Cradle is an angry and cynical book; a desperate, melancholic vomiting of hopeless nihilism onto the page, which I normally enjoy. But Cat's Cradle is unpolished, partially to mimic the character of the bible (being variously historical narrative, parable, proverb, and poetry), but also likely due to Vonnegut's fragmentary thoughts as he actively mused about pointless social constructs and hopeless notions of humanity.

It must have been extremely cathartic to write. Not so to read.

"Hello, I have some depressing postmodern satire to share. I mean... Meow!"

It was strange to crawl into the brain of someone as misanthropic as myself, particularly since I have started writing. This book was as acerbically humorous as my own tastes, yet deeply depressing. So much so that I had to stop reading at intervals as it reinforced my bleak world view, fifty-six years on, a little too much.

Anyone who has looked behind the curtain of too many of our hallowed institutions--be they political, military, medical, municipal, social, religious or scientific--will learn the horrible truth: nearly every person in charge is making it up as they go along; often selfishly, thoughtlessly and, worse of all, for the "right" reasons. Vonnegut clearly experienced this same ennui in spades. *heavy sigh*

This book should probably be read because it is interesting and experimental, but I cannot recommend it. Its message is still relevant, but the author's casual racism and blatant misogyny, while a symptom of 1963, is hard to forgive in 2020. Its lack of polish also detracts from its overall quality; and, while a book like this should not be pablum (no sugar needed to sweeten this rough medicine), it could use a bit of softening to ease, rather than ram, its message into the reader's tender brain. Maybe save yours a bit of rough treatment and take this book as read.