But Breakfast of Champions is just as funny, accurate, and brilliant as it was when I read it as a teenager. Vonnegut's dead-on critiques of racism, classism, and consumerism in American society are still, tragically, relevant. His play with the relationship between writer, character, and reader still feels fresh and vibrant. It's hard to imagine a writer more beloved in his or her life time than Vonnegut was during his, but, there's the possibility that Vonnegut's work can grow in importance as long as the America he described remains unchanged.
As good as that might be for the longevity of his ouevre, that lack of change in the world, seemed to contribute to some of the sadness that surrounded him at the end of his life. In a great essay from his collection Not That You Asked, Steve Almond does an amazing job capturing not only what Vonnegut meant to so many people, but also Vonnegut's own sense of melancholy from trying his hardest for as long as he could and failing to save the world from itself.