If you’ve spoken with me, you know that I have two favorite authors – Kurt Vonnegut and Robert Jordan – and they both had completely different styles of writing. Vonnegut was succinct, ironic and cynical where Jordan was verbose and optimistic. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine, is possibly my favorite book by Kurt Vonnegut, and I’ve read everything he wrote but a handful of short stories that I’m still tracking down.
God Bless You, Mr Rosewater
Eliot Rosewater is a WWII veteran and eccentric multi-millionaire who develops a conscience and wants to make a difference. He settles in Rosewater, Indiana and starts a charity for the poor in town. Meanwhile, an unscrupulous lawyer is trying to use Eliot’s eccentricity, drinking and odd relationship with his wife to prove him mentally ill. Using this proof, he plans to take money from Eliot and give it to Eliot’s distant cousin – while keeping a portion of that large fortune for himself, of course.
God Bless You, Mr Rosewater tells the tale of moneys’ effect on the different Rosewaters. Rich Eliot Rosewater wants nothing more than to help people. His ancestors George, Noah and Samuel Rosewater amassed the great fortune. His father, Senator Lister Rosewater, laments that Eliot never had a child with his wife Sylvia Rosewater that would inherit the fortune. And Fred Rosewater, from a distant branch of the family, knows nothing of his ancestry and feels the lack and displacement that so many of us Americans feel.
However, the Rosewaters aren’t the only characters in the tale influenced by money. There is also the unscrupulous lawyer Mushari and the town of Rosewater, Indiana. In fact, Vonnegut begins the book by telling the reader that “A sum of money is a leading character in this tale about people, just as a sum of honey might properly be a leading character in a tale about bees.”
With this eclectic mix of characters, Vonnegut tells the real story, a tale of money and its effect on people, rich and poor. Pick it up from your local library today, Kurt Vonnegut wrote a masterpiece, and you owe it to yourself to read it.