More than thirty years after the publication of his acclaimed memoir The Eden Express, Mark Vonnegut continues his story in this searingly funny, iconoclastic account of coping with mental illness, finding his calling, and learning that willpower isn’t nearly enough.
Here is Mark’s life childhood as the son of a struggling writer, as well as the world after Mark was released from a mental hospital. At the late age of twenty-eight and after nineteen rejections, he is finally accepted to Harvard Medical School, where he gains purpose, a life, and some control over his condition. There are the manic episodes, during which he felt burdened with saving the world, juxtaposed against the real-world responsibilities of running a pediatric practice.
Ultimately a tribute to the small, daily, and positive parts of a life interrupted by bipolar disorder, Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So is a wise, unsentimental, and inspiring book that will resonate with generations of readers.
"Okay so this isn't a truly 'new book', but one I've KNOWN I had to read since it first came out a couple years back. I admit I fell right away for the cover and the Vonnegut name... it's got one of those profile drawings of a human head with the brain area sectioned to contain each word of it's title: Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So... and then, below that, 'a Memoir' & 'Mark Vonnegut, MD'. So out camping in New Mexico this summer I just finished it and have to say Mark is a chip right off the old Kurt block, alright, but his voice is similarly delightfully witty and perceptive and humane, only very much his own. In fact I may next have to find me a copy of his earlier book, Eden Express, soon.
A dad writer like Kurt must have felt like a heck of an act to follow, but the whirlwind tour through Mark's life is an entirely original, yet familiar (in a fellow human being navigating this astoundingly complex, heartbreaking, dangerous and beautiful world sorta way) story that makes the craziness in one's own head and the wider world seem more manageable thanks to the author's insatiable curiosity, wild resilience, vulnerability, brilliantly perceptive humor and insights into his own condition and adventures navigating the oh so different, and oh so much the same travails and wonders we all do. This isn't because the more nightmarish aspects of alcoholism or hospitalizations with mental illness are de-fanged and rendered harmless through the author sharing his stories punctuated by all that, but because there is a core of passionate love for life and people woven throughout.
I simply love this book mostly because it helps me see my own and others' full-on catastrophes, large and small, more compassionately and patiently and with much better humor. Plus it gives me a deeper appreciation for the perpetually messy business of illness and healing of all sorts. Not a bad deal for a mere $15 in paperback in my humble opinion."