Possibly the weirdest book I’ll recommend on here, Breakfast of Champions is a completely addictive, bonkers, and hilarious trip through the imagination of Kurt Vonnegut.
At first glance, Breakfast of Champions is about a man who goes on a small(ish) rampage after he reads a sci-fi book he thinks is the literal truth.
Well, that’s the plot anyway, but Vonnegut isn’t the type to let a decent plot get in the way of everything he wants to say. So, it doesn’t just deal with mental illness: its crammed with digressions on politics, free will, social class, and racism (amongst other things).
Now, I know what you’re thinking – why is it bonkers? Seems pretty routine so far. Well for a start, he’s crammed it full of these drawings:
And not all of the drawings are relevant either (the page full of anuses in particular is out of the blue, to say the least).
Now, he’s also made himself a character, commentating on what’s going on and why he’s written it in a particular way, or how he changed the plot depending on what he needed to happen in the end. I suppose it makes sense – halfway through he says:
“I couldn’t help wondering if that was what God put me on Earth for – to find out how much a man could take without breaking”
And then he goes and writes it in super-short sections that start with “And then”, or “Now”, or “And not”. The weird starts to each section mean that it flows really well – there’s always a danger of creating a staccato rhythm with short sections, but those strange starts mean you fly through all of the micro-sections, and before you know it you find yourself in a page full of anuses laughing your head off.
Despite all of this creative madness, Breakfast of Champion never quite satisfies – characters aren’t quite believable, situations are a little too absurd. You’re left just wanting a little more.
Still, I’d recommend it. It’s maybe one of the weirdest books I’ll ever recommend.
So what do you think? Have you read it? Did you like it? Would you recommend it?
Let me know in the comments!