God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Rosewater Foundation has more money than God. When Eliot Rosewater, the current head, starts making people nervous with all his talk of redistributing wealth, Norman Mushari decides to put Eliot's sanity to test in court and reaches out to the Rhode Island branch of the Rosewater family.
Kurt Vonnegut takes on capitalism and socialism in God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, the fourth book of his I've read. I'm still not sure how I feel about the esteemed Mr. Vonnegut. I think his writing is exceptional but his plots are all over the place.
To put things as simply as I can, Eliot Rosewater goes off his nut and finds salvation in the form of hack science fiction writer Kilgore Trout and being a volunteer firefighter in the town of Rosewater, Indiana. His generous behavior, coupled with his alcoholic lifestyle, worry his family's lawyers enough for Norman Mushari to try to hijack the Rosewater legacy out from under him. Hilarity and some convoluted antics ensue.
Like all Vonnegut novels, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater points out the absurdities of life. In this case, generosity in a world of capitalists. Vonnegut peppers the text with pearls of wisdom, such as “There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
The central message of the book seems to be that in a world where more people are replaced by robots and computers every day, even people without purpose need to be loved. Soon, we'll all be in that boat. In the end, Eliot manages to stick it to the man and all is as right with the world as it can be in a Kurt Vonnegut book.
So it goes. At the end of the day, I'm not sure how I felt about this book. I liked some parts quite a bit and others just seemed like filler. It wasn't my favorite Vonnegut but it was at least as good as Galápagos. Three out of five stars.
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