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The Eden Express [Paperback]

Mark Vonnegut
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 16.95
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Book Description

Nov. 5 2002
The Eden Express describes from the inside Mark Vonnegut’s experience in the late ’60s and early ’70s—a recent college grad; in love; living communally on a farm, with a famous and doting father, cherished dog, and prized jalopy—and then the nervous breakdowns in all their slow-motion intimacy, the taste of mortality and opportunity for humor they provided, and the grim despair they afforded as well. That he emerged to write this funny and true book and then moved on to find the meaningful life that for a while had seemed beyond reach is what ultimately happens in The Eden Express. But the real story here is that throughout his harrowing experience his sense of humor let him see the humanity of what he was going through, and his gift of language let him describe it in such a moving way that others could begin to imagine both its utter ordinariness as well as the madness we all share.

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The Eden Express + Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So: A Memoir
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About the Author

After writing The Eden Express, MARK VONNEGUT went to medical school. He lives with his wife and two children in Milton, Mass., where he is a full-time practicing pediatrician.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terribly compelling and incredible story Feb. 25 2004
By A Customer
Two years ago I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and have since been put on medication and fully recovered. My therapist suggested that I read Mark Vonnegut's telling of the descent into schizophrenia. I've read other accounts of schizophrenia, but Mark's definitely takes the cake in terms of realism. I'm not even sure if I can finish the book, the book is so unsettling for me. If someone you care about has schizophrenia, read this book, it will help you understand what this disease does.
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5.0 out of 5 stars incredible journey Oct. 4 2002
I first read this book my junior year in college as a class text for a psych course in disorders. I wish all my psych texts were half this interesting! This is a personal account of what it's like to develop scizophrenia, go through treatment, recover, relapse, etc... My only criticism of this book is that I wish he had waited longer to write it and told more about his life since recovering. One other thing to note: this is a really funny book. If it weren't for all the heavy stuff in this book, it could easily be a comedy book.
The thing about this book that makes the deepest impression on me is that even in his most wacked out, deeply scizophrenic episodes, he still gives you the impression that it's the rest of the world that's gone crazy and he's just floating along trying to keep his head above water.
The author is the son of the famous Kurt Vonnegut, which he references occasionally in his book, but it's not a predominant theme by any means. I think part of the reason for that is that his dad wasn't famous until he was almost an adult and then had this "son of a famous guy" thing cast upon him just as he was trying to strike out on his own and make his own life.
Anyhow, this is a must-read book, and is one of my favorites of all time.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was lucky enough to stumble on this book in the library browsing shelves, and was soon sorry I hadnt read it much earlier.
I find that it remains an eloquent testimonial to the other side of schizophrenia, that side that is evidence of its adaptive role in sociobiological evolution, as a means of exploiting the physics of synchronicity, and often disguised as religious mysticism.
I have long suspected that the study of schizophrenia could benefit by taking seriously the phenomenon of synchronicity. In that some of the disorienting aspects of schizophrenia may simply be due to a lack of contet due to the west's cultural dismissal of the reality of synchronicity.
Mark Vonnegut gives us a case study of a young person who had natively intuited and systematatically explored synchronicity for some years prior to his episodes of schizophrenia. It makes me wonder - how much the onset of his illness was due to this practice of his cultivating synchronicity. And how much the debilitating nature of the illness was due to the anxiety that resulted when it manifested more and more. I wonder if in a culture that accepted and understood the phenomenon more, would he have not suffered as much?
There are so many similarities in the neurological metanoia/metamorphosis transformation of schizophrenia and mysticism, it seems so clear to me they must be very close together on the spectral distribution of human ways of being.
To the handful of readers who are interested in these aspects of consciousness, I would recommend Victor Mansfield's 'Science Synchronicity and Soul Making', and Louis Sass's 'Madness and Modernism'.
Oh well, disregarding all that metaphysical blather, Vonnegut's eloquent descriptions of the despair of modern life as seen from the eyes of a 20 year old make the book a timeless classic of cultural criticism, it seems to me. It brings to mind Jon Krakauer's story of Chris McCandless - 'Into The Wild'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great schizophrenia memoir March 18 2003
There are only a handful of memoirs about schizophrenia, and this book and "The Quiet Room" are probably the best ones available. The author apparently inherited his father's excellent writing and storytelling abilities, as this is an engaging and insightful description of life in the 1960s and the descent into and emergence from schizophrenia. The description of the illness alone makes the book worth reading, and is in some ways reminiscent of "Darkness Visible" and "The Bell Jar". The book is also quite humorous. Highly recommended. Avery Z. Conner, author of "Fevers of the Mind".
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
When I read it nearly 10 years ago in Germany, I fell in love with the writing, clear and with deep compassion for all the people that he came in contact with. His ability to tie in the overwhelming impulses of the schizophrenic to the everyday pressures we all experience is truly priceless. After reading it, I realised that others were wrestling with the same fears of failure, disappointment, and acceptance. Truly a wonderful book. Hopefully, can find a copy for me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a lucid report of mental chaos April 23 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a valuable work this is! Unlike many hippie reports and reminiscences, it is clear and direct. The author conveys the horror of his disease, the joy (yes, joy!) of his disease, and the tenor of the times brilliantly. It took me back to the days when we'd put the dogs in the car and drive to Central America. I read a yellowed, battered ancient paperback lent reluctantly by a friend in British Columbia and now must send it back. I want my own copy--which I'll lend with care.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Eden Express a must-read for former hippies
This is an interesting book, especially paired with Mark Vonnegut's latest, Just Like Someone With Mental Illness, But More So.
I live in B.C. Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2011 by E. Godley
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Personal Account
I am 15 years old and I read this book for a Schizophrenia research paper. Mark Vonnegut has been my doctor in Boston all of my life. Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2003 by Shaun Brideau
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Insight!
I had taken several classes in psychology in college and really thought that I had a grasp of what it was like to live with schizophrenia. Not so! Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2003 by "mom2aidan"
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book about a first psychotic experience
This was a very personal book, written by the man who was my pediatrician for 18 yrs. He had his first psychotic experience in his 20's and describes the details in exceptional... Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Book hit close to home
This is one of my all time favorite books. Not only because the commune was located in my home town of Powell River B. Read more
Published on June 2 2000 by Doug Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I read this book when I was a teenager and have been trying to find it again for several years. I picked it up at the time only because I was a Kurt Vonnegut fan back then and... Read more
Published on March 8 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-gripping account of a young man's battle with madness
I have read and re-read this book at least a dozen times over the years. A true masterpiece from a gifted writer. Read more
Published on Nov. 4 1999 by ALAN H. JEWETT
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