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The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity Paperback – November 5, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (November 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583225439
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583225431
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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

Mark Vonnegut is a very good writer.
A mother
This autobiographical account of a young man's battle with madness will touch your heart and soul.
ALAN H. JEWETT
One of the most moving books I've ever read.
ulrich@hevanet.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on September 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'll be honest with you: I read Mark Vonnegut's book because he is Kurt Vonnegut's son. The elder Mr. Vonnegut mentions it one of his books (I don't remember which one, but I'm pretty sure it's Fates Worse Than Death, or maybe Timequake), and I probably would never have picked it up (or even heard of it) otherwise. That said, it is a fascinating and very delightful book, full of insight and well worth reading. Not many books tackle the admittedly difficult issue of describing insanity from the inside out (i.e., in the form of a first-person recollection), and this book is truly useful for those looking for such a work. It's hard to imagine anyone doing it better. I can see this as a practical "must read" for medical professionals looking to identify more closely with their patients, or for anyone who just wants a more personal account of the subject matter than that often offered by dry, sterile medical textbooks. Mark's writing style is quite good, but also highly personal. He doesn't seem aloof or like somebody with whom we can't identify (as many people who have experienced mental illnesses inevitably do): he seems like just one of us. The emotions and problems he was going through are certainly things that many of us can relate to (especially those of us who lived through the times that the the book describes) - although the cause for his schizophrenia was never, of course, fully discovered, a lot of things, as Mark says, "happened all at once": his steady girlfriend cheating on him, his parents breaking up, his father becoming famous. Although Mark's writing style is nothing like his father's, the two do share a similar sense of humor. This, coupled with the delightfully personal aspect of the prose, makes this a great read for those interested in its subject matter. Reccommended.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By R. Wallace on November 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mark Vonnegut went through three severe schizophrenic episodes in the early '70's, yet is able to maintain a sense of humor about what befell him. At that time, in his early 20's, he was going through his hippie phase, living with friends on a farm in Canada. Everyone, including Vonnegut, seemed to think what hit him was the result of oppressive society, as explained by the silly writings of ain't-no-mental-illness Thomas Szasz and the even sillier ones of mental-illness-can-be-a-good-thing R.D. Laing. Yet it turns out he was sufferering from a biochemical disorder, possibly brought on my malnutrition. What brought him back to reality was commitment to a mental hospital and some Thorazine, followed by some rather massive doses of vitamins and a better diet. I've never quite read anything like this. His descriptions of how schizophrenia crept up on him and how he thought there was nothing wrong with him, even when he was babbling gibberish, not eating and sleeping for days, are priceless. Although written in 1975, it is still relevant today, and very much worth reading.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Avery Z. Conner on March 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "mom2aidan" on January 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
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! This book takes you into the world and mind of a person with this disorder. Mark Vonnegut is so honest and open and you really gain a real world feel for what it is to be a person living with schizophrenia. If you are at all interested in this topic, I really feel it is a must read!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Parker on June 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought and read this book many, many years ago when my son was just a happy baby, still less than a year old. I enjoyed it immensely and tucked it away on my bookshelf, until several years passed away and many moving days later, it perished in disastrous house fire. By then I had become aware that my son was almost certainly schizophrenic, but he refused counseling, obtaining a formal diagnosis and therefore any of the medications available for his disorder. Finally less than a year ago he became afraid of what he might do to others or himself, so much so that he resolved to ask for help and has started down the long road, on and off medications and seeking counseling. It was a rough and heroic thing for him to have done, beginning his recovery by his own decision at nearly thirty years old. He has depended on and trusted enough in one of his twin sisters to assist him along the way. He doesn't yet trust me, his mother, enough to speak to me right now. I remembered reading "The Eden Express", and I thought that it might help him to know that others like him have had success, and that there was real hope for him. In all I have bought five copies of this book in the past month: a copy for him, one each for his two sisters and another to replace the copy that disappeared in a puff of smoke for myself. I hope that he will read it at some point in the future and that he will appreciate it enough to someday speak to me again. I enjoyed reading the new forward and prefice to the book since I first read it back in the late seventies. Thank you Dr. Mark Vonnegut, and his father, Kurt Vonnegut for sharing!
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