Welcome to the Monkey House

Welcome to the Monkey House - Kurt Vonnegut

The Basics


A series of short stories (and even a couple of articles) by Kurt Vonnegut.


My Thoughts


Sad to say, the first thing I want to address is that the title story of this collection (“Welcome to the Monkey House”) is one of the most horrifically unfortunate things I’ve ever read. I want to sit here and tell myself that Vonnegut was from a different time, blah blah. I can’t justify it. And I can’t not talk about it openly and honestly. TRIGGER WARNING: the story has what is basically date rape, and it attempts to make this seem entirely normal and okay. And it just isn’t. Older fiction has a lot of unfortunate implications in it, and you have to be somewhat prepared for that stuff, but I was genuinely shocked to see something like that as written by Vonnegut. It just felt backwards and insensitive, and while he’s quick to pull out the offensive and stick it in your face, this was on a whole other level.


Having said that, can I judge an entire collection on one story? No, that’s not really fair. Especially considering the rest of them don’t contain anything remotely like that, and almost all of them are strong, well-written stories that I really enjoyed. The reason I was shocked in the first place was because Vonnegut never came off as that deeply insensitive to women, at least not from my perspective. The rest of the stories reflect that, being satires and science fiction and mostly about the human condition not including such a heavy, knee-jerk-inducing subject.


As for the tales here that make it worth reading (just take my advice and skip the title story entirely), “EPICAC” was one of the first ones I purposely flipped to, and it’s both short and lovely. “Harrison Bergeron” is a famous one collected here, and if you ask me, for good reason. “Euphorio” was another, fantastic, science fiction story that deserves to be read, especially for that ending. I also found “All The King’s Horses” to be very tense and suspenseful. Those are just my favorites boiled down from too many to name, as there is a lot of really great writing here. So the final verdict is I recommend the collection save one story. It really is easily skippable and ignored, and the rest are worth your time.


Final Rating