Book Review: Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut

This novel follows the main character, known simply as John, as he recalls a strange journey he took while writing a simple article for the newspaper. Along the journey, John becomes involved with the Hoenikker family, a family whose father is a fictional co-inventor of the atomic bomb. He learns of a substance called Ice-Nine which could turn any wet substance to ice. As his journey continues he comes to an extremely poor island called San Lorenzo. There he learns of a forbidden religion there called Bokononism. Many odd things happen on the island following his arrival, and without spoiling the book, ends with a large, tumultuous event.

This book was very interesting. I had heard of Kurt Vonnegut before, so I decided that I should find out what all the buzz was about and read a Vonnegut novel. Written in the 60’s, Cat’s Cradle comments on the arms race with the use of Vonnegut’s made up Ice-Nine. I thought it was great how he showed the stupidity of the arms race, and so many other things, by the use of how absurd and funny this novel is. And without pointing out any specific ideology or political figure of the time, he makes fun of them all. Reading this book reminded me a lot of Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. They seemed to follow the same humorous patterns, however Cat’s Cradle drew me in a little bit more. 

I would highly recommend this book if you are looking for a quick, lighthearted comedy, or if you are looking for a book that dives deep into the times and picks apart ideologies not often picked apart – since, amazingly, this book is both. Additionally, if anyone has any book recommendations for me to review next, email me at [email protected] or just tell me in the halls.

-Marty Dubecky ’21