Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut [Traveling Book Review]

This is one of my favorite books in the world, how did it hold up during my re-read?

About the Book

Publisher: Penguin  |  Release Date: January 1, 1963  |  Pages: 306
Genre: Classics, Science Fiction  |  Format: Paperback  |  Source: Purchased

Told with deadpan humor and bitter irony, Kurt Vonnegut’s cult tale of global destruction preys on our deepest fears of witnessing Armageddon and, worse still, surviving it …

Dr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding ‘fathers’ of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to the world. For he’s the inventor of ‘ice-nine’, a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. The search for its whereabouts leads to Hoenikker’s three eccentric children, to a crazed dictator in the Caribbean, to madness. Felix Hoenikker’s Death Wish comes true when his last, fatal gift to humankind brings about the end, that for all of us, is nigh…

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My Review

This is one of my favorite books, and one that I have read countless times since first reading it about 15 years ago. This is my first re-read since becoming a book blogger, and it was very interesting for me to re-read a coveted book of mine with a different lens than I had in the past; it made for an enlightening and new experience reading a book that I am incredibly familiar with.

“Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”

As one of the best satirists of our time, Vonnegut juxtaposes science and religion in Cat’s Cradle. Our narrator Jonah (a likely allusion to Jonah and the whale) – also known as John – investigates the life of the Father of the atomic bomb to write a book and embarks on a journey towards the next man-made destructive event in the form of ice-nine.

“Science is magic that works.”

First published in 1963 during the Cold War and six years before the Moon Landing, Cat’s Cradle takes a look at the destructive creations made by science, the ownership of these products of destruction, and the power relationship in government. The latter of which I find particularly interesting, especially given the context of the world in 1963, as the Republic of San Lorenzo ensures to always have an “enemy” for the people; the constant vilification against religion while holding science to be paramount, and the irony is not lost on the reader when the end comes, as it often does, from scientific discovery.

This is classic Vonnegut with an interesting and unconventional narrative style that readers will either love or hate. While the storytelling and exposition are linear, I think that some readers will struggle for the first 100 pages. I promise that the exposition and seemingly loose threads at the start all do tie together.


This review is the start of the Fall Traveling Book Review, where I am sending my well-loved copy of Cat’s Cradle to eight other bloggers around the world to be read and annotated! I am so excited about this new project, and if you missed out don’t worry, the Winter Traveling Book Review will begin in January. Below are the bloggers that are participating, and I will update this post as their reviews are done! For now, be sure to check out their amazing blogs!

Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Molly @ Molly’s Madness

Rachel @ paceamorelibri

Grey @ Revised Origins

Libby @ Dimscreen

Jo @ Online Blanketfort

Kelsey @ There’s Something About KM

Zoe @ Mythical Reads

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

26 Comments

  1. thebookprescription

    September 12, 2018 at 9:14 AM

    Glad you enjoyed this one 😀

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 13, 2018 at 7:17 AM

      Thank you, it’s always and forever one of my faves!

  2. Kelsey @ There's Something About KM

    September 12, 2018 at 9:20 AM

    So thrilled to be part of this – especially since this will be my first read of Cat’s Cradle. 😊 The two quotes from the book that you included in your review have my annotating-senses tingling! 😏😉

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 13, 2018 at 7:19 AM

      I am so excited to share this book with you and cannot wait to hear what you think! There are so many excellent quotes in the book, so I am really looking forward to everyone’s annotations!

      1. Kelsey @ There's Something About KM

        September 13, 2018 at 7:22 AM

        Oh me too!! Thank you for including me in the experience! 💖

  3. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

    September 12, 2018 at 2:30 PM

    Lovely review! This is going to be my first time reading anything by Vonnegut, so I’m really excited (and a little nervous). Thank you for letting me join in your traveling book adventure! <3

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 13, 2018 at 7:32 AM

      Thank you Destiny, and honestly I am really nervous that you all will hate it and I am already feeling guilty that I recommended it so highly. I hope you enjoy it, but even if you don’t it is a FAST read!

      1. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

        September 15, 2018 at 10:38 PM

        Awww, for what it’s worth, I really don’t think I will hate it! I’m honestly super excited and I was flipping through it a bit earlier and it seems like a HELLA fast read. I’m trying to catch up on a couple of ARCs right now but plan on finishing it by the middle of the week so I can mail it out while I’m running errands Thursday!

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          September 17, 2018 at 7:25 AM

          Yea it reads SO FAST and the pacing is pretty good once you get through the beginning a bit! Shout at me when you start reading it, love!

  4. Grey Winters

    September 12, 2018 at 8:07 PM

    Loved your review because it shows that passion for this book and why it would be a book you selected for this. I am so excited to get to read this for the first time and get to see what others think of it along the journey of this book. If this goes as well as I think it will, I know I will be part of the Winter traveling book as well. Thank you for doing this!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 13, 2018 at 7:35 AM

      Thank you so much, Grey, and I am glad that my love of this book shined through! This is a tough title to review because it is so ~strange~ and I didn’t want to give too much of the plot away, but I truly think this is some of the best satire. I hope you enjoy it too, thanks so much for signing up!

      I am already starting to think about what the Winter book will be… hmmmmmm

  5. Molly @ Molly's Madness

    September 13, 2018 at 7:44 AM

    I am so excited to be a part of this and I just can’t wait for the book to get here 🙂 It will be my first time reading this book, or any Vonnegut for that matter, and I am really looking forward to it. Especially after reading such a great review 🙂

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 14, 2018 at 10:09 AM

      I am so excited to share this book with you, Molly! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  6. My Favourite Reviews of the Week | 17th September – BookBum

    September 17, 2018 at 3:44 AM

    […] Vocarious reviewed Cats Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut – I’d not heard of this Vonnegut book before now but it sounds intriguing and I like […]

  7. onlineblanketfort

    September 17, 2018 at 5:09 AM

    So excited to receive this one in January!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 17, 2018 at 7:36 AM

      I can’t wait to see what you think of it, Jo!

  8. Rachel

    September 17, 2018 at 7:29 AM

    CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS! It’s going to be my first Vonnegut! Thanks so much for organizing this, it’s going to be a lot of fun!!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 17, 2018 at 7:37 AM

      AHHHHHH I am so excited to be introducing you all to my favorite author! I can’t wait to see what you think, and thanks for signing up!

  9. Rae

    September 17, 2018 at 2:38 PM

    This has been on my TBR forever!!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      September 17, 2018 at 2:44 PM

      YOU SHOULD READ IT IT’S WONDERFUL.

  10. September in Review – Reader Voracious Blog

    September 30, 2018 at 10:05 AM

    […] Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (re-read): first published in 1963 during the Cold War and six years before the Moon Landing, Cat’s Cradle takes a look at the destructive creations made by science, the ownership of these products of destruction, and the power relationship in government. This story is timeless and relevant today with an unconventional narrative style that readers will either love or hate. [Full Review] […]

  11. September Review – Molly's Madness

    October 1, 2018 at 12:40 AM

    […] Taking part in the fall traveling book review hosted by Kaleena @ Reader Voracious! […]

  12. book review: Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut – pace, amore, libri

    October 31, 2018 at 10:00 AM

    […] read this novel as a part of the Traveling Book Review organized by Kaleena over at Reader Voracious: Kaleena shipped out her copy of Cat’s Cradle […]

  13. Last 10 Books Tag – pace, amore, libri

    January 17, 2019 at 11:22 AM

    […] hates annotations which makes me self-conscious about it.  But, I did take part in Kaleena’s Traveling Book Review for Cat’s Cradle which necessitated writing in the margins, and it was quite a lot of […]

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