This book, which has been touted as a "brilliant satire on almost everything", is, in fact, one of Vonnegut's second-rate novels. It is perhaps his most pessimistic, cynical, darkest book of them all. It's also different from the majority of his work in that it is fairly straight-forwardly written; it doesn't jump around on narrative detours like most of his books do. The story is told in fairly linear fashion. It is certainly a good book, and a nice, quick read (like all Vonnegut, it has that indescrible weird factor - not suspense, in the typical fashion - that keeps you reading it); it's just that it doesn't have that Great Underlying Moral like his best books do. The book's main character is Eliot Rosewater (undoubtedly a familar persona to Vonnegut fans), and he gives in this book - to everybody - what seemingly no one is willing to give these days: unconditional love. In turn for this, he is spit on by the world. This book says, in typical Vonnegut candor, Help people; you won't be appreciated for it, and you will probably even be ridiclued, but do it, anyway. It also says, Most people don't deserve help - they are worthless, useless, and stupid - but do it, anyway. Also, this book is a sharp-toothed satire of the American welfare system. Vonnegut's view of welfare echoes mine: it was a good idea to start out with, but its usefulness has passed. People who don't need it are milking it shamelessly, and the time has come to drastically re-organize it, or dispense with it alltogether. Vonnegut also tackles the issue of inherited wealth, and all forms of riches you earn by birthright, or other similar cirumstances, without actually earning yourself. Of course, this inevitably raises the subject of Communism. This book has a lot of interesting ideas, and points, but they are never brought together into that single, incredible cohesive whole, like they are in his best books. Certainly, it is a worthy read for fans; others, however, would be wise to start elsewhere.