2.5 stars. this is my first vonnegut, and maybe it's unfortunate that i started with the last of his novels to be written. i don't know. this was definitely some of the things i was expecting it to be (quirky, unusual, irreverent - at times - ) and not some of the things i was expecting it to be (hilarious, mind-blowing, fantastic) and also some unexpected things (part autobiography, extremely honest). partly my fault because my expectations were too high? maybe. i don't know if he usually writes so much of himself into his books, but the way he wrote this one implies that it's pretty typical. i'm not sure how much i'd like that to be a consistent thing, but for at least this read, it was okay, and sometimes added a lot to the "story." parts of this book had echoes of tom robbins, which for me is a very positive thing. but i never felt like he did as good a job (bring on the thunder) as tom robbins would have with most of it. for me, he touched too lightly on too many things. a book this short can't very well be about nearly everything, but he seemed to try to make it be. i do like what he touches on about free will, though.my favorite part of the entire book is from the prologue:"That there are such devices are firearms, as easy to operate as cigarette lighters and as cheap as toasters, capable at anybody's whim of killing Father or [jazz pianist] Fats or Abraham Lincoln or John Lennon or Martin Luther King, Jr., or a woman pushing a baby carriage, should be proof enough for anybody that, to quote the old science fiction writer Kilgore Trout, 'being alive is a crock of shit.'"had this been written by tom robbins, father, fats, abraham lincoln, john lennon, mlk, and the woman pushing a baby carriage would have figured to some extent in the story and it would have been brilliant. vonnegut made his father and abraham lincoln (and john lennon if you count that he mentioned the beatles, which i don't, really) part of the story but that's it. to me that's a big oversight. well, worse than an oversight. but it's not fair to compare to other authors (and i know that most people would never put robbins above vonnegut) and i do think that's affected my opinion on this. i will be interested to read more by him and see if his other stuff is actually funny like his reputation boasts, and just to see more of his style, which i'll try not to compare with anyone else.