While not as well-known as Slaughterhouse Five or Cat’s Cradle, Deadeye Dick exhibits Vonnegut’s classic dry wit and his ability to to satirize the state of American affairs. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The novel is full of loaded statements that require re-reading and moments of consideration. The abundance of metaphors and lessons is truly astounding!
The premise? A 12 yr old boy inadvertently becomes a double murderer when he shoots his father’s Springfiled rifle over the rooftops of Midland City, Ohio, killing a vaccuming pregnant woman. There are numerous side-stories, as is typical with Vonnegut writing.
The novel explores the transformation of the 12 year old child as he quickly loses his innocence and learns to distance himself from anything he can touch and destry. The narrator (the child in question – Rudolph Waltz), actually refers to himself as a “neuter.” What really amazes me about Vonnegut is his ability to seem impartial as an authour. He simply presents situations to the reader that cause the reader to have thoughts that Vonnegut has clearly experienced.
“It’s a widely accepted principle,” he says, “that you can claim a piece of land which been inhabited for tens of thousands of years, if only you will repeat this mantra endlessly: ‘We discovered it, we discovered it, we discovered it. . . .’ “
Beyond the loss of innocence, Vonnegut dabbles in many other topics, including America’s drug dependency, over-governance, melodrama, use of the mythical neutron bomb, death, dementia. Overall a funny yet chilling novel; it has certainly made me question much of what I know. A must read for any Vonnegut fan, which, as far as I am concerned, is anyone who has ever read Vonnegut.
If you haven’t, go read Slaughterhouse Five. Right now.
Over and out.