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The Boon: Thoughts of a Schizophrenic in…

The Boon: Thoughts of a Schizophrenic in Remission (edition 2012)

by Eugene Uttley

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Title:The Boon: Thoughts of a Schizophrenic in Remission
Authors:Eugene Uttley
Info:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2012), Paperback, 468 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:memoir, mental health, mental illness, schizophrenia, schizophrenic, recovery, remission, Carl Jung

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The Boon: Thoughts of a Schizophrenic in Remission by Eugene Uttley



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Please note, this review is neither positive or negative regarding this work. There is a glaring need for improvement and the author would be wise to take these points in stride. Hopefully future readers will find none of the faults, and all of the benefit of an application of changes to a new revision of this work. As this is available in a published paperback edition, I doubt any action will be taken.

The funny thing about being approached to read a book about recovering from Schizophrenia is that you expect it to be insane and that you will be unable to be focus on the details. Eugene Uttley’s (pseudonym) long form essay is exactly the opposite of expectations. Posed in a free form essay format, it held my attention too well. Too well meaning the book was about 25% longer than was healthy for it.

This book was eye opening and answers via Uttley’s perspective, some of the long standting questions people may have about the illness. The book creates a construct of modern Eugene, reflecting on himself and his view during times of break. It strongly references scripts and information written by him in years past. During non-remission times, he kept fairly detailed chapbook diaries. These chapbooks contained conversations he had (with/with out other people), personal insights into various daily elements, and ultimately a solidly unreal worldview. The interesting bit here is this unreal worldview.. It wanders too and fro, consistently pointing out fitting and germane elements of life that many of us take for granted.

Holy Conversational Narrative Batman.

Uttley discusses everything in this book. I am not exaggerating, he discusses everything. From consumable and logical descriptions of his religious perspectives, to homelessness in Korea; No category seems to be off limits. Due to the stream of consciousness formatting of some sections, the thoughts are not ever completed, as a reader you are left wondering if he will ever return to the subject. In other cases, thirty pages (and a handful of subjects) later you are given the conclusion you were waiting for. At many points I was considering putting the book down for good, only to be wrapped up in a new thought I found great interest in.

Certain sections I reread with additional fascination as they were conversations with aspects of his own schizophrenic brain, where portions of himself are hording information and other portions were truly “learning” from the other via open debate.

There are a few glaring problems with this book that, though I highly enjoyed it, will keep most readers from finishing it. These same points make it difficult to justify a positive review and limit my ability to recommend it to others on the grounds of reliability.

The primary concern is length. At one point about three quarters in, he advises that even his own father advised he made his point “then just went on making it for quite some time”. This is an unfair statement in the fact that the myriad of discussion topics take time to flesh out, and in the format used they are tough to nail down. His father’s statement rings true in the fact that the final quarter of the book has absolutely zero point except for Eugene to wax poetic on his desire to write a long book.

The secondary concern may potentially cause Uttley legal issues as well, but the legality is not where he should be concerned. Uttley chooses to display the book with out any form of care for other copyright holders. He blatantly quotes entire song lyrics and sections of prose with little concern for copyright.As stated “I say again, how freeing it is not to have to cite one’s sources”. Surely I agree with him, but a simple bibliography, combined with proper notation, would handle most of this. He would do well, as an author, to recognize the rights of those he references, if nothing else than to provide proper respect for those he finds quote worthy. As an author, he should be giddy to tie his name to the work of those he respects, and hopeful that others would provide him the same courtesy.

The legal and respect perspective is not the true issue here however.

As I read the book, I found myself astounded by some prose that is purely genius, absolutely incredible thoughts that I would like to share with others I know. I highlighted and prepared a number of items I wanted to quote in this review. Fairly sizable sections were isolated, and I spoke about the fascinating points with a couple people who shared my interest. HOWEVER, due to the wanton lack of copyright acknowledgement, I did not feel confident that what I was quoting was truly his own work. Uttley openly discusses his omission of notation as well as his liberal use/paraphrasing of Wikipedia (as well as other authored works).

This second point overshadowed any other concerns I may have had with The Boon, as it invalidated my ability to trust the work I was reading. It made me angry and felt as if my time were being wasted.. It is a real shame that the author’s ego regarding length and citation will harm his work this badly. Even the photograph on the front cover comes into question.

NOTE: If Uttley releases a new revision, I will save my notes and add an addendum to this review, though the original text will remain, it can be amended with the prose that I would love to share, but not at the risk of applying credit where it is not due.
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  JasonBrownPDX | Apr 4, 2013 |
Hi - Eugene Uttley here.

Five years ago, while teaching English as a Second Language in Korea, I developed late onset schizophrenia. The first signs of schizophrenia usually manifest in one's teenage years or early twenties. My case, occurring when I was in my thirties, is something of a rarity. Another unusual aspect of my case is that I went a whole year in acute psychosis without help or treatment. And a very long, wild year it was...

I have written two books about my experiences with schizophrenia. The first book is entitled Over the Transom: A True Tale of Late Onset Schizophrenia. It includes many stories from my life and especially deals with the year during which I traveled abroad and in the USA during my psychotic break. It is currently under consideration for publication by two small presses. As such, it is not yet available on Amazon.com. I have been offering the manuscript as a .doc file to any interested parties, and will continue to do so until it is published. Just send me an email at mruttleysz at gmail dot com if you would like a copy. The second book, The Boon: Thoughts of a Schizophrenic in Remission, is available now through the CreateSpace Estore and on Amazon.com as a paperback or (cheaper) for Kindle. It also includes experiences from my life and from my psychosis, but does not linger on ground covered in the first memoir. Instead, this second book focuses primarily on my recovery and my thinking now about understanding and languaging the disorder and how to go about the process of healing oneself. I've already sold a few copies, and really hope to continue to reach more readers.

Recently, hoping to find out how accessible information about my book(s) is to casual users of search engines, I 'googled' my name - Eugene Uttley. Although to my dismay I was not shown my CreateSpace or Amazon.com pages, I did have one wonderful surprise. In a forum dedicated to the computer game series Starcraft (of all places), I found a delightful posting about Over the Transom, which I would like to share with you here:

"While researching some more info on schizophrenia, I came across this memoir written by an author chronicling his battle with and recovery from schizophrenia. I figure, opportunities to learn about this rather mysterious mental illness this in-depth come few and far between, so any of our members interested in psychology might find this an interesting read... I was surprised to learn some new strategies for coping, that certain thoughts I have are actually common among schizophrenia, and that my strategies I already have for dealing with the disease are actually quite effective... If you are coping with the disease like myself, or know somebody who is, or are just interested in abnormal psychology, you'll find this an interesting read."

The person who wrote this post went on to provide a link to the memoir as a google .doc, which I had provided elsewhere. Responding to some replies to the initial post, he/she went on to say this:

"It's given me comfort and made me feel happy for a change... and for that I am grateful. Indeed, my psychotic symptoms have all vanished since. Not sure what to make of that... I strongly recommend anyone interested in mental illness and human psychology read this book... it truly helped me come to terms with my own mental state, and I'm sure those unafflicted by mental illness could learn something about a new, unusual perspective on life from it."

Obviously, this testimonial is my dream come true! I am thrilled to know that my work was meaningful (and apparently even therapeutic) to a fellow-sufferer. I have had other positive feedback on the manuscript in a forum for mental illness support. One person wrote, "I read this memoir and it was touching and well portrayed. Anyone who feels alone should read this. Anyone who needs to see that there is indeed hope should give this book a try." Reading reactions like this to my work is greatly gratifying and makes me feel like I am making a difference - one reader at a time.

I realize that it's a bit odd to post reader reactions to one book (Over the Transom) as a review for another (The Boon), but I feel that it is appropriate in that the two books are to some extent companion works. Again, while Over the Transom deals largely with my life experiences and the details of my psychotic break, The Boon expands on this material and explores my thinking on the disorder now that I have been stable for a number of years. The Boon is chock full of quotations and excerpts from poetry, prose, and song by some of my favorite thinkers and artists, and also contains and discusses material that I wrote (creatively) in the years building up to my onset.

So thank you for considering The Boon, and please let me know by email if you'd like to read Over the Transom for free!


ps. use this promo code -- PS24ZV8E -- for a dollar off if you order from the CreateSpace Estore ( )
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  eugene.uttley | Dec 25, 2012 |
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