These are the stories wrote to finance his novels, and for that I’m thankful. Without them, we wouldn’t have classics such as Breakfast of Champions, or the more well-known Slaughterhouse-Five. That, however, does not mean that I liked what I read.
In fact, besides a story here and there, this collection is, at best, passable. To name a few, there’s “Harrison Bergeron,” well deserving of all its accolades, “Who Am I This Time?”, a love story which is charming in its unconventional nature, and “Long Walk to Forever” is a deceptively touching look into the romantic that resides deep within Vonnegut.
But then there are also a whole host of stories that seem to rely too heavily upon their concepts, such as “All the King’s Horses” in which men play chess with soldiers as their chess pieces, and ones that seem to end before they’ve reached a worthwhile destination, such as “Miss Temptation.”
Still, Welcome to the Monkey House is worth it for those occasional stand-outs, and to see how adept Vonnegut was at coming up with a gripping premise for a story.
Travis Smith’s blog, containing this review, as well as others, photography, and more, can be found here.