God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian – Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut is a favorite, so this may be a little biased, ha.  Though “God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian” may sound quite morbid and unappealing, the book was quite interesting.  Vonnegut compiled several short pieces from a show he did on public radio in the late 1990’s, each visiting a different character in history.  Here’s the catch: he wrote as if he went through a blue tunnel up to the pearly gates of heaven assisted by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who made him just dead enough to get Vonnegut there and then to safely bring him back from the dead.  At under 80 pages, this was a quick but satisfying read.  He was able to quote memorable historical figures, friends, and acquaintances as he visited about 20 dead souls in heaven.

First, Vonnegut stated that this does not reflect his religious views (as the president of the American Humanist Association), but was a fun way to look at different perspectives of history.  Humorously, he interviewed Isaac Newton, who said he can’t forgive himself for overlooking the theories of evolution and relativity (even though he invented the reflecting telescope and calculus).  Hitler was interviewed, asking for forgiveness.  Yes, Hitler was in heaven, Vonnegut said there was no hell and that everyone simply went to heaven, because nobody knows, who can say he’s wrong?  Isaac Asimov was also interviewed and asked how he became such a prolific writer (over 500 novels).  He replied with one word, “escape,” followed by quoting Satre, saying “Hell is other people.” Vonnegut even wrote in his mysterious alter-ego, Kilgore Trout into an interview.

I have enjoyed all I’ve read by Vonnegut and this was no exception.  His witty and thoughtful work did a nice job of exploring the afterlife and people who have influenced himself and the world.  A quick read, not to be taken seriously, it was a nice ‘brain break’ from the world, if only for a short time.

Rating: **********10/10

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