Cat's Cradle

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Dell, 1988 - Fiction - 191 pages
130 Reviews

This is the first annotated guide to recent young adult literature that is organized into specific problem areas: alienation and identity, disabilities, homosexuality, divorced and single parents, adopted and foster families, abuse, eating disorders (anorexia nervosa and bulimia), alcohol and drugs, poverty, dropouts and delinquency, teenage pregnancy, AIDS, death and dying, and stress and suicide. More than 900 recommended books published through 1993 have been annotated. Reading levels of recommended books are grades 5-8 and interest level is through grade 12.

This work addresses bibliotherapy, but is not based on it. Instead, it is built on the premise that literacy is the key to growth and understanding. Each chapter deals with a specific adolescent problem area and begins with general comments about the problem, startling information and current statistics about its gravity and pervasiveness, warning signs to look for, and suggestions of what to do and where to go for help. Each entry contains complete bibliographic information. The format and readable annotations will make it easy for young adults, parents, librarians, teachers, clergy, psychologists, counselors, social workers, and health professionals to find appropriate fiction and nonfiction books and articles on the serious problems that adolescents face today.

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User Review  - CSDaley - LibraryThing

My reread of Vonnegut continues with one of my favorites by him. His structure and storytelling were brilliant. I am reading his books in the order he published them and you can really see him settling into his style in this book. Read full review

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User Review  - Jessiqa - LibraryThing

In true Vonnegut fashion, this is a weird little book. It includes a fake religion known as Bokononism and a scientist who develops a means to destroy the entire world. No big deal though, since he ... Read full review

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About the author (1988)

The appeal of Kurt Vonnegut, especially to bright younger readers of the past few decades, may be attributed partly to the fact that he is one of the few writers who have successfully straddled the imaginary line between science-fiction/fantasy and "real literature." He was born in Indianapolis and attended Cornell University, but his college education was interrupted by World War II. Captured during the Battle of the Bulge and imprisoned in Dresden, he received a Purple Heart for what he calls a "ludicrously negligible wound." After the war he returned to Cornell and then earned his M.A. at the University of Chicago.He worked as a police reporter and in public relations before placing several short stories in the popular magazines and beginning his career as a novelist. His first novel, Player Piano (1952), is a highly credible account of a future mechanistic society in which people count for little and machines for much. The Sirens of Titan (1959), is the story of a playboy whisked off to Mars and outer space in order to learn some humbling lessons about Earth's modest function in the total scheme of things. Mother Night (1962) satirizes the Nazi mentality in its narrative about an American writer who broadcasts propaganda in Germany during the war as an Allied agent. Cat's Cradle (1963) makes use of some of Vonnegut's experiences in General Electric laboratories in its story about the discovery of a special kind of ice that destroys the world. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965) satirizes a benevolent foundation set up to foster the salvation of the world through love, an endeavor with, of course, disastrous results. Slaughterhouse-Five; or The Children's Crusade (1969) is the book that marked a turning point in Vonnegut's career. Based on his experiences in Dresden, it is the story of another Vonnegut surrogate named Billy Pilgrim who travels back and forth in time and becomes a kind of modern-day Everyman. The novel was something of a cult book during the Vietnam era for its antiwar sentiments. Breakfast of Champions (1973), the story of a Pontiac dealer who goes crazy after reading a science fiction novel by "Kilgore Trout," received generally unfavorable reviews but was a commercial success. Slapstick (1976), dedicated to the memory of Laurel and Hardy, is the somewhat wacky memoir of a 100-year-old ex-president who thinks he can solve society's problems by giving everyone a new middle name. In addition to his fiction, Vonnegut has published nonfiction on social problems and other topics, some of which is collected in Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons (1974). He died from head injuries sustained in a fall on April 11, 2007.

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