- File Size: 830 KB
- Print Length: 104 pages
- Publisher: Lulu.com (October 22, 2013)
- Publication Date: October 22, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00RKHA5X8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #526,870 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$5.99|
|Print List Price:||$15.79|
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The Bumpy Road: A Memoir of Culture Clash Including Woodstock, Mental Hospitals, and Living In Mexico Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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The Bumpy Road (2013) by Donald F. Karp, is a fascinating memoir of the culture clash coming from an often dysfunctional childhood, the political/social turmoil of the sixties and seventies while studying for a doctorate, formative events such as Woodstock, being in and out of mental hospitals and living in Mexico. Don weaves a thread using the metaphor of life as being a bumpy road presenting developmental tasks along the way, in which he was an ex-husband, ex graduate student, ex mental hospital patient and now and expatriate.
The author is now working on two other books in the series, an expansion on the impact of Woodstock both for him and the country, and about living in Mexico over time.
This reader enjoyed the scope of the memoir, beginning around the age of six, through the trials and tribulations of Donald's life and the family down to the recent present, living outside the United States. The character development, not only of his own journey, but of his family, ex-wife, and girl friends is rich with pithy and profound details. It felt at times like Ken Kesey and that we are all in the Cuckoo's Nest.
One cannot easily say what character would be my favorite. Would it be his mother, brother Tom or the self-absorbed Dr. Lundgren, his graduate advisor?
Being an honest account of a life once lost and later found, especially later in Mexico, the characters were totally plausible. One felt the author's pain growing up as he sought answers to deep pain.
The story keeps one guessing. When we think that things could not possibly be any worse, they took a turn in that direction. One wondered if Don would save himself in the end or succumb to suicide or be permanently institutionalized. The parts about his younger brother were particularly tragic, and left unanswered questions about how Don handled it.
The middle part about his dark years as young adult involved with drugs and relationship issues, while questioning his career direction, provided much to ponder. The book is heavy with context for those who experienced and paid attention to the Vietnam War, the social unrest of the civil rights movement and the challenges of a country which had somehow lost its identity and direction.
Descriptions of the mental hospital, finding meaning through communal living, developing as an artist and musician, and initial impressions of moving into Mexico rang true to the experiences of many. An example was his initial commitment, suggested by his mother, that he take treatment as an inpatient in a mental hospital. He had a hard time signing himself out. He later met life changing role models through volunteering and social action.
Pertaining to the isolation of his childhood and family expectations, the book makes one disturbed by the many absurdities of life. The author felt much pain and experienced so many road blocks before eventually finding himself, which he asserts is an evolving process. One laughs at the little stories about the big egos and publish or perish in academia, the concert scene in New York and California, and the ironies in Mexican culture. Very absorbing! I wanted to know more about most aspects of the book, but he took us into new areas before fully exploring the topics and answering all my questions, especially about his parents and brothers.
What happenend to his brother deserved more development and how Don dealt with denial. Surely the sequels will deal with unanswered questions.
The Bumpy Road contains the elements of a good read: 1) Man against himself and, 2) Man against man and society. Instead of the third common element of man against nature, Don increasingly discovered nature and found it to be a great solace.
The work definitely deserves four out of five stars. A thorough revision with new material could definitely put it in a five star category.
Mr. Karp handles what can cause many to become terrorized, oppressed and defeated with straightforward ease. He is off to his next adventure and experiencing the road that god puts before him with other people and without drama. In this way the book helps fight the stigma that is so often associated with a diagnosis. Indeed, the reader does not sense that this is a diseased, pathological and burdened man. We see someone who remains engaged and resilient by being curious about other people and hanging in there building life skills in alternative communities.
A valuable journey that needs to be taken, the book can teach the reader how not to commit themselves to the white walls of the institution be it the mental hospital or the hypocrisy of distorted academia. I definitely walked away feeling there is more in life.
As a mental health counselor and psychiatric survivor, the book helped me realize there were more options out there than just the one that I took. Although when I was confined to the State Hospital for three months in a border state, alternative communities were available to me, I did not use Rainbow Gathering and other types of alternate communities that revealed themselves to me: Aryan gangs, IRA, Mexican Mafia etcetera. The book helped dignify that peace and healing can prevail from some of those options and demonstrate the healing that they can bring. It helped me recover from grieving for the people who took those alternate paths. Indeed most of us who seek find our wellness in ten years regardless of our path. That is a fact that is not well enough known by illness focused, mainstream community; it is mantra that if I had believed would have eased the burden of what I went through.
The book additionally helped me understand generational issues in the survivor community. It gave me a bigger vision of what our elders went through and how they come to promote the things that they do. It also helps me see the ways our society has changed and the way mental health is increasingly becoming a pill-popping secret that affects us all when in reality, true healing involves so much of the opposite. A reader can see how integrating alternate communities into our societies becomes so much more important, and how other societies like Mexico, contain different challenges but more integrated and healing opportunities.
In short, Mr. Karp achieves an enormous amount in just eighty-five pages, and I would highly recommend this to someone who is looking to learn something about mental health, resilience, and the direction that we need to take to heal our troubled society.
A "Bumpy Road" indeed. Here is a man who has experienced much of the joy, sadness and madness that the world has to offer. His life has been an adventure and this book takes you along for the ride - open the door and climb on in.