I read Mark’s first book years ago- I don’t recall details about it except by the story’s end I was in full throttle rooting for the underdog to make it; and he did. It wasn’t funny. This memoir, however, is filled with light-hearted humor- the kind that comes with age or wisdom- and simple aphorisms- the kind you can live your life by.
I like the memoir, Only More So, for three reasons. One, he and the topic are interesting which adds up to a story I’d like to hear. Two, I’m a big fan of his Dad’s work and Mark’s stories about his parents, scattered throughout the book, add to the layers that make the book a good read. I must say that it’s good therapy to understand an important topic, like insanity and how it effects the greater family, when the story telling is sprinkled with humor. I came to a deeper understanding of what’s possible and what isn’t for a family with a history of mental illness. Three, I’m interested in the fine line between insanity and genius, sanity and insanity: visions (good) and visions (bad); voices (good) voices (bad.) How do we know which is which?
The best advice comes early in the book. When the young Mark confessed he wanted to kill himself, his mother informed him that was too bad because she was depending on him getting together with the other suicidal ten year olds so they could go about saving the world. Thankfully, the young Vonnegut took his mother’s advice to heart and is making the world better, one person at a time.
Hopefully someone with an eye for relevance is pulling out Vonnegut’s aphorisms, the quotables and the paradoxes and binding them together under a title of Words to Live By.