Recently, it occurred to me to reread some books that I had LOVED, capitals warranted, as a young teenager. Partly because I don’t remember them very well now 30 (okay, 30+) years after reading them and partly because I wanted to see if I still even liked them. I considered some of my favorite books, most of which were written by incredible, well known authors and decided to start with the work of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Deadeye Dick was published in 1982 when I was 13. It was the first Vonnegut book I read as a kid and once I finished it I read every other thing he written and then actually had to wait for Galapagos to be published in 1985. This time around I started with Slaughterhouse Five. I was not disappointed. So I checked my library system to get more Vonnegut books and found … well more Vonnegut novels obviously, but also a book of his drawings called, appropriately enough, Drawings. Published in 2014, it includes an introduction by his daughter Nanette (both Nanette and her sister Edith are visual artists), an essay by literary critic Peter Reed, and 120 of Kurt Vonnegut’s drawings punctuated by an occasional quote from Vonnegut himself.
The introduction and essay are well written and the introduction, in particular, gives the reader a glimpse into the home life of the author as a child (through descriptions of his parents and his boyhood home) and into his home life as a father. The title of this blog is actually a title Nanette Vonnegut bestows on many relatives, including her father, in her introduction. The interspersed quotes can be found in other books by and about Vonnegut but they add an element of surprise to the book and, for me at least, served as a reminder that this was a fully-fleshed out character. Not just an Author. Drawing for Vonnegut might easily equated to blogging for me – not quite as natural as the primary daily object of effort and attention but an engaging and different way to view issues. Overall, the drawings are fun; you can see the marker strokes in the full color illustrations and Vonnegut’s quirky sense of humor pops up frequently as well. Some of the drawings are quite good though and reminiscent of Joan Miro.
The book, since it is predominately sparsely colored line drawings, doesn’t take a long time to get through but it would make a great addition to the book collection of any Vonnegut enthusiasts. Or dedicated doodlers. It is available through Amazon and there is a Kindle edition if you happen to own the Kindle Fire.