Wednesday, February 15, 2012
the last book I ever read (And So It Goes, excerpt one)
from And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life by Charles J. Shields:
After spending Friday and Saturday at home relaxing on leave, Kurt was awakened by Alice early Sunday morning, Mother's Day. Something was wrong with Mother, she said. Together, they went quietly into her bedroom, where Kurt bent over his mother. He left to get his father, who was sleeping in another room. Edith Vonnegut, age fifty-six, was dead from an overdose of sleeping pills.
There was no note by the bedside. There didn't need to be, although she might have left some words to assuage her family's grief. Edith Vonnegut's upper-class ideology had failed her. Faced with adversity, she couldn't adjust her hopes, her pretensions, not even her existence to the changes in her situation. Lying in bed for many days at a time, too unhappy to rise, she listened disconsolately to the radio and the laughter that might just as well have been directed at her. Later in his life, Vonnegut attributed his mother's death to a refined nature that wasn't strong enough to stand up to the times. "It was the war itself that wrecked my mother, and not was against Germany." The simple truth was, Edith Vonnegut deigned not to go on living if she had to be like everybody else.