This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity by…

The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity (1975)

by Mark Vonnegut

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6041123,005 (3.78)36
  1. 00
    The Loony-Bin Trip by Kate Millett (krazy4katz)
    krazy4katz: Different writing style, but both are interesting explorations of mental illness vs. the celebration of what is unique about each of us. Both books are by authors who are (or were) off the mainstream at one point in their life. The difference is that Kate Millett rejects the "medical model" of mental illness, whereas Mark Vonnegut believes that medication provides the stability necessary for him to be happy.… (more)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 36 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Mark Vonnegut, son of the famous writer and self-described hippie, recounts his experience after college of starting a hippie commune in Vancouver and having a mental breakdown, for which he is eventually hospitalized.

I would never have heard of this book except that it turned up on my library book discussion list. It was published in 1975, just a few years after the events described in the book, which goes from about 1969-72. Mark writes about that time period, hippie culture, and his own experience with mental illness with a unique perspective. When he first starts having episodes of hallucinations and detachment from the world, it's hard to piece out how much is reality, his illness, or the drugs (mostly pot, but mescaline too) - an intentional choice that reminded me of Challenger Deep with its dreamlike and muddled quality showing that confused state of mind. I'm glad our book club brought it to my attention, and I'm interested in following up with Mark's more recent memoir, Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness, Only More So. ( )
  bell7 | Aug 22, 2017 |
An insightful look into the mind of a man coping with his own crumbling mental faculties and his attempts to control his slide into madness during a turbulent period of American history. ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
Around 1970 soon after finishing college, Mark Vonnegut and assorted college friends left the East for British Columbia to fulfill a dream of living off the land, the classic hippie fantasy. They find a beautiful isolated (12 mile boat ride) farm for sale cheap near Powell River and set up camp, working like demons repairing the house, clearing and planting a garden, getting goats.... All seems to be going brilliantly, when Mark succumbs to a full blown psychotic episode. I vaguely remember hearing about The Eden Express years ago; it would come up sometimes when discussing people who never fully recovered from tripping - people who, I see now, had a vulnerability and might well have with other stresses succumbed to an episode without any drugs. His friends tried their best to cope, the ethic of the day obliged them to, but at last he was committed in Vancouver. Back then Mark was diagnosed as schizophrenic, now he has been diagnosed as bipoloar and while neither is desirable, the latter is a preferable diagnosis, as the long-term prognosis is better. Among the many strengths of the memoir, Mark's 'voice' and his uncompromising description of what he can recall of what was going on in his head that year, as he first moved to B.C., and slowly but steadily went downhill under the pressure of 'doing it right', from what is recognizable now as a steady manic high that was sustaining him at first to a dissociative state in which he would be sure those he loved were dead, the world was coming to an end....(culminating in 'blanks' of which he remembers nothing). It is clear that a good deal of the time Mark had a strong awareness of what was happening and some realization that he needed help. He is wonderfully candid and sometimes very funny about his own weaknesses. Another strength and a hugely important one is Mark's articulation of the absolute sincerity of those who made the effort he and his friends did to become self-sufficient, to stop harming others and the earth, to find a new way to live, and that many, like him, who threw themselves entirely into this effort emerged wiser, yes, but also scarred. **** ( )
  sibyx | Jul 22, 2014 |
I'm glad to see that this is back in print. I'm not sure that the diagnosis of schizophrenia is accurate (I lean more toward bipolar disorder with a hefty dose of illicit substances to muddy the waters), but it's still an excellent memoir. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
A favorite from college when I was a psychology major, I recently re-read the book having long ago switched to another field. The book is still good though. For me it covers two interesting topics: communes and insanity. I was old enough at the time to think hippies were cool but not old enough to participate, so reading about their commune is part of the draw for me.

The other part, of course, is how experience and dealt with insanity. The key lesson from the book is that it is a biochemical problem, not something going wrong in your mind. Vonnegut had been a fan of Thomas Szasz and R.D. Laing, but found there really is something physical to mental illness. There are other useful lessons from the book, but I don't want to spoil too much.

He does ramble on a lot about what was going on during his periods of insanity, and I'll admit to some skimming so that I could get to the point. I wonder how he remembered so much detail from then, although I suppose there was a lot more that he didn't remember.

You can learn what happened to Vonnegut after the book by reading the Wikipedia article about him. ( )
  lemuel | Aug 15, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
It is a better thing to travel hopefully than it is to arrive.
-- R. L. Stevenson
To Mark Adin Boles. If not for you I wouldn't have bothered to fight.
To my father. Without you I wouldn't have known how to fight.
To J. Ross MacLean. Without you I never would have stopped fighting.
First words
June 1969: Swarthmore Graduation.
Realizing I was crazy didn't make the crazy stuff stop happening.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553027557, Mass Market Paperback)

Cover shows ordinary signs of shelf wear and use, but all pages are clean, bright and intact. SHIPS NEXT BUSINESS DAY!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:43 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"The Eden Express describes from the inside Mark Vonnegut's experience in the late '60s and early '70s - a recent college grad; in love; living communally on a farm, with a famous and doting father, cherished dog, and prized jalopy - and then the nervous breakdowns in all their slow-motion intimacy, the taste of mortality and opportunity for humor they provided, and the grim despair they afforded as well. That he emerged to write this funny and true book and then moved on to find the meaningful life that for a while had seemed beyond reach is what ultimately happens in The Eden Express. But the real story here is that throughout his harrowing experience his sense of humor let him see the humanity of what he was going through, and his gift of language let him describe it in such a moving way that others could begin to imagine both its utter ordinariness as well as the madness we all share."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.78)
1 2
1.5 1
2 7
3 25
3.5 7
4 57
4.5 6
5 20

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 127,999,941 books! | Top bar: Always visible