The Boon, Thoughts of a Schizophrenic in Remission (Eugene Uttley)

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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This review is based on a book kindly provided for free by the publisher or author. Please check my FTC Douche-claimer for details regarding this disclaimer’s existence.

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