I read this the first time about seven years ago. I didn't enjoy it although I didn't hate it either. I didn't understand what everyone seemed to love about it. A few days ago I read an article about the book in the guardian. It mentioned that a school in the US had banned it for it's language. I honestly couldn't remember there being much bad language. I thought if it had been so bad then surely I would have remembered it more clearly. That's the only thing I was right about (there is bad language in the book but it's fairly mild compared to a lot of other books). I read this book and it was honestly like I was reading it for the first time. I remember absolutely nothing! A good thing possibly as I absolutely loved it this time round.
Billy Pilgrim seems like such a pitiful character and yet I liked him. He's a harmless man who is just trying to get through life. He knows what will happen to him and is happy to accept that. Or maybe not happy but not completely unhappy either. He is accepting of what will happen. His time shifting is unpredictable apart from his time in Dresden. His other parts of his life are viewed forwards and backwards but Dresden is viewed in a continuous line putting it more in focus than the others which is the point I think.
I think the time shifting and being taught to accept the inevitable gives the book a hint of sadness. The character Billy and events during WWII also do that but I think his acceptance thanks to moving through time emphasises the sadness.
I am glad that I read this again. I must have been asleep when I read it the first time. It's the only explanation for being unable to remember a word of it. It's now a firm favourite and I look forward to reading more Vonnegut in the future.