His Writing:

Articles:

Books:

Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So

A Memoir
by Mark Vonnegut, M.D., Delacorte, $24 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385-34379-4
Two not unrelated challenges–being novelist Kurt Vonnegut’s son and suffering episodes of schizophrenia–shape, but don’t confine, this mordantly witty, slightly subversive memoir. Vonnegut (The Eden Express) weathered a scruffy childhood with his as yet obscure dad (“I’ll always remember my father as the world’s worst car salesman”) and was hospitalized for three bouts of psychosis in his 20s. He recovered and went on to Harvard Medical School and a successful career in pediatrics–then a fourth psychotic break upended him 14 years after the first one. (Taken to the hospital where he worked, he found himself greeting colleagues while tied to a gurney.) Vonnegut vividly conveys the bizarre logic of the voices and delusions that occasionally plagued him, which he finds not much nuttier than what passes for normalcy. (He’s especially incensed by the insurance bureaucracies he thinks are ruining medicine.) His father’s son, he writes with a matter-of-fact absurdism–“The patient who just died lies there quietly and everyone else stops rushing around trying to do something about it”–champions misfits, and attacks the system. All his own are Vonnegut’s hard-won insights into the value of a humble, useful life picked up from pieces.

Links:

The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity

A Memoir by
Mark Vonnegut, Seven Stories Press, originally published in 1975 and republished in 2002.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Seven Stories Press


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