This isn’t my favorite of Vonnegut’s books, but it was still an interesting read.
About the Book
Title: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Genre: classics, humor
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads) (truncated):
“God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965) presents Eliot Rosewater, an itinerant, semi-crazed millionaire wandering the country in search of heritage and philanthropic outcome, introducing the science fiction writer Kilgore Trout to the world and Vonnegut to the collegiate audience which would soon make him a cult writer.
Trout, modeled according to Vonnegut on the science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon (with whom Vonnegut had an occasional relationship) is a desperate, impoverished but visionary hack writer who functions for Eliot Rosewater as both conscience and horrid example. Rosewater, seeking to put his inheritance to some meaningful use (his father was an entrepreneur), tries to do good within the context of almost illimitable cynicism and corruption.”
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater is basically a satire of capitalism, generational wealth, and those types of rich people who just manipulate money without contributing real stuff to society. I’m pretty sure Vonnegut was a socialist (just looked it up and yes he was) which he makes pretty obvious in this book.
The novel centers around this guy, Eliot Rosewater, who is super wealthy and powerful because the Rosewaters are this rich family that puts all their efforts into preserving the wealth.
Then there is this greedy lawyer who wants to prove Eliot insane so that he can give Eliot’s money to his client and also get himself rich in the meantime. Part of the reason everyone thinks he’s crazy is because he actually cares about regular people and gives them advice and doesn’t ignore them for being poor.
The main reason I wasn’t a huge fan of this book was because there wasn’t much of a coherent plot, it was a lot of rambling, disjointed narratives of all the different characters, and the “redistribute the wealth!” stuff got old after a bit for me.
However it was interesting to see all of the allusions to Slaughterhouse-Five ; that’s one of my favorite things about Vonnegut’s books, they are all set in the same universe.
My favorite part of the book was Rosewater’s speech at the science fiction convention:
“I love you sons of bitches,” Eliot said in Milford. “You’re all I read any more. You’re the only ones who’ll talk about the really terrific changes going on, the only ones crazy enough to know that life is a space voyage, and not a short one, either, but one that’ll last for billions of years. You’re the only ones with guts enough to really care about the future, who really notice what machines do to us, what wars do to us, what cities do to us, what big, simple ideas do to us, what tremendous misunderstandings, mistakes, accidents and catastrophes do to us. You’re the only ones zany enough to agonize over time and distances without limit, over mysteries that will never die, over the fact that we are right now determining whether the space voyage for the next billion years or so is going to be Heaven or Hell.”
Though it wasn’t my favorite of Vonnegut’s books, I would recommend God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater if you are in the mood for social satire.
Have you read God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut? If so, what did you think of it? Feel free to leave a comment!
If you liked this post, consider subscribing to Frappes & Fiction. I post about the books I read (even if they’re not fiction), the books I think YOU should read, and anything else on my mind.
(I’m also on social media!)