Riddled into this experimental open letter is the story of a man who made the “hero’s journey” to another world and back again. The prize he won there, the ultimate boon, is knowing what he wants.
"Wisdom warns against desire, but there is power in wanting – power that can fuel the will and keep lit that precious torch, hope."
This line stands as a rare moment of profundity in a largely light-hearted read. For all its references (and there are many), this book maintains a brisk, entertaining pace. Plus it has the potential to help people along in their thinking, to contest somewhat the negative stigma associated with schizophrenia, to foster positivity in the face of mental illness, and to aid in recovery.
What Eugene Uttley wants is to be whole. The Boon is process toward that state.
Being the thoughts of a schizophrenic in remission on connectedness, this creative nonfiction personal essay includes original and appropriated prose, poetry, song, prayer… memoir, travelogue, sketches of daily life and literary exegesis. Its topics (in no particular order) include: Carl Jung (individuation, archetypes, synchronicity), Martin Heidegger (Dasein), Jacques Derrida (deconstruction), Greek etymology (soul and sin), Ralph Waldo Emerson (Oversoul), Beatniks (Ginsberg, Kerouac on Buddhism) and post-Beatniks (Thomas Pynchon), moderns (James Joyce) and postmoderns (Tom Robbins), movies (The Fisher King, The Soloist, The Truman Show, Wings of Desire, The Matrix, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Moulin Rouge, Real Genius, Being John Malkovich, Being in the World) and moviestars (Bill Murray), oilpaintings (John William Waterhouse, Kim Chang Han), sculpture (David, the Pieta), websites (gnod.net, zombo.com, schizophrenia.com, schizophreniaforums.com), quotations and teachings of spiritual leaders (Jesus, Buddha, the Dalai Lama, Ghandi) and musicians (Michael Jackson, Michael Franti, Arlo Guthrie, Greg Brown, Iris Dement, Harry Connick Jr., Joe Cocker, Nat King Cole, G. Love, KRS-One), verses from the Bible and the Tao te Ching, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Cloud of Unknowing, Flatland, Over the Transom, Florilegium, Moby Dick, Richard McLean, Mark Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Frank Herbert, Phillip K. Dick, William S. Burroughs, Hermann Hesse, Thomas Merton, Dr. Demento, Dr. Seuss, John Milton, Alan Watts, Joseph Campbell, Lev Vygotsky, Annie Dillard, Thomas Szasz, Susan Sheehan, Michel Foucault, Douglas Adams, Marcus Aurelius, John Keats, Aesop, Albert Einstein, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Oscar Wilde, Plato, Thurgood Marshall, Francis Bacon, Saint Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Robert K.C. Forman, Walter Freeman, Walt Whitman, William Shakespeare, Lord Buckley, R.D.Laing, Jorge Luis Borges, Cicero, Aristotle, Baruch Spinoza, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Michael Moore, Trey Parker, Lazlo Toth, Saint Ambrose, Alex Scott, Funnyinthehead, Mad Max, Max Headroom, Viracocha, Serapis, Anahata, Avalokitesvara and the goddess Quan Yin, genii loci, the bhavacakra, the Wheel of Fortuna, the fool figure, the seven sacraments, string theory, artificial intelligence, neurodynamics, brain-computer interfacing, intentionality, recovery and meditation tactics and techniques, positive thinking, cognitive dissonance, neologism, word salad, psychotic break, delusions and hallucinations, hearing voices, avolition and anhedonia, deja vu, Prozac, Abilify, marijuana, Skull and Bones, HAARP, ELF, VOG, Indiana, Oregon, Alaska, Jeju Island, Seoul (Insadong, Itaewan), being an expat and a patriot, teaching ESL in South Korea, American politics and foreign policy, the separation of church and state, querying literary agents, suicide, blackout drinking, plagiarism, internet piracy, identity theft, bankruptcy,poverty, unemployment, anomie, intelligent design, ego death, solipsism, The Age of Reason, art, science, therapy, friendship, family, dreams, transformation, virtue, and love.
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About the Author
Eugene Uttley is a lifelong reader and writer. His favorite toy as a child was a typewriter (followed closely by a mimeograph machine). Interested in signing a petition &/or supporting a campaign advocating comprehensive mental health education towards ending mental illness stigma? Just contact him anywhere -- especially mruttleysz at gmail dot com -- and happy reading!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
DNF - 0 stars Where I stopped reading: Melissa – the first page. Belinda – 20% Why I stopped reading: Melissa - I couldn’t get passed the first page. I thought possibly my brain was just too tired to read something like this. So, I recommended it to Belinda. Belinda - The 20% I read was not enjoyable. I tried. I really, really tried. I got to 20% and even tried to skip through some parts to move it along. And yet, I just couldn’t read any more. I think this book should be retitled: Aimless, Endless Rambling of a Madman Wannabe. 468 pages of Eugene Uttley tediously discussing his favorite (and only) subject: himself. If this type of book is something you’re interested in I’d recommend d the hugely popular The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Another book that’s worth reading and has a similar theme is Addition by Toni Jordan. What others have rated this book: According to Goodreads, the average rating for The Boon is 3.83. It looks like a majority of readers gave this book 5 stars. There were 5 5-star reviews on Amazon. At Barnes & Noble, the two reviews were both 5 stars. Just because we didn’t finish this book doesn’t mean you may not. As reviewed by Melissa and Belinda at Every Free Chance Book Reviews. (We received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
“I conceive of this work of creative nonfiction, this lengthy personal essay, as a learner’s journal and a part of the healing process”. This passage sums up the entire book very well. Yet, in ways, it doesn’t come close to what it offers. Not only does Mr. Uttley take us on his personal journey through schizophrenia and his return to what we regard as “normal”, but he also leads us through his personal beliefs on a great many topics. The first subject is his personal notion of God and Creation. A very interesting and thought-provoking treatise, his explanation of his perception of the Eternal made me stop and think, weigh my own beliefs, and find them bolstered by his ideas. Well-cited and deep in its intelligence and observations, “The Boon” is not a book to be picked up and run through in one go, or even two. I would go so far as to say, like Socrates or Plato, or the Bible itself, “The Boon” is a book to be read in bits and parts, allowing these passages to soak in and to find a home in the reader’s consideration. Mr. Uttley’s observations often wind in and out of each other, wending a pathway that seems to go beyond what his original idea was. But once he brings it back to the original proposal (and he always does), all of it makes sense, and the reader is left with the feeling that it could not have come back any other way. This book is very encouraging and thought-provoking. It is one I would recommend to someone who wishes to see the world from another’s point of view, in a highly intelligent and well-researched approach. I personally will find myself referring to it often.
Talk About Intense! This book is very intense and contains many honest revelations. I was a little concerned that it would be a complete religious manuscript, but that was not the case. The author started out on a religious trend but went other ways through out the book. The author talked about his new holistic approach to life and how hard he tried to maintain it. When he began to rant, he lost his job and basically had to look to another way to control himself. This is basically a person’s journey through the mysteries of his life and the complications of his illness. It is a very straightforward and honest look at the problems and struggles he went through. This book is a very intense read and not for the faint of heart. Many of the situations in this book would disturb many people. That being said, it is a great view into the life of person with this illness. I appreciate the honesty and the bravery it took to write this book. When you read this book, be on the look out for his theories on Styrofoam and liver flukes. They are most entertaining and interesting. At times this book tended to wander a bit and had trouble following it. Each time it did manage to get me back to the original thought. Due to this, I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.