Book Review: Man Dream God
Reviewed by Madeline Barbush
An audacious exploration of the life of an Anarchist-turned-Jesus-Freak
In Man Dream God: A Modern Odyssey, Mick Brady recounts to us, head on, all of the many turns his life has taken. “Odyssey” is not an exaggeration, and to future readers I’d like to say: prepare yourself. Prepare yourself for a ridiculous ride in the mind of Mick: a psychedelic fanatic; a reborn Christian Jesus freak; a pioneer and artist of the virtual world.
The artist’s memoir is broken down into four parts which chronicle the intense phases of his life from the late sixties to present day. Part One is acid madness, Part Two his rehabilitation, Part Three his rebirth as a Christian, and Part Four his entering into the digital revolution.
Mick labels himself an Anarchist-turned-Jesus-Freak, and I’d say that’s a proper self-analysis. The memoir shifts from an absurd retelling of a man’s attempt to understand his hallucinations while on drugs into a life account of a reformed Christian who looks at himself squarely in the eyes. Men drop like flies in the crazy underworld of drugs, and you’d guess that Mick would fall just the same if not for his authorship of his story.
Mick does an amazing job of boiling his life down of these 260 pages. On each page we are given something different. I was worried the entire memoir was going to be one big acid trip, but even while he uses drugs, he makes an attempt to see life as closely and clearly as possible. The fun is deciphering whether or not we are in the depths of his shifting reality or actual reality.
Sometimes it is tiring to keep up with, but most of the time, it is exciting to live life through someone who continually says “yes” and goes with his first instinct. Rather than rely on drugs to lead him to higher truths, the artist drops the habit and turns inward, which undoubtedly brings him to a more fulfilling life and for us a better story.
His yeses lead him to some interesting places and people. Some of my favorites include his fast friend Byron, with whom he opens a bookshop, and Sam, a permanent fixture of the shop’s basement. Sam really has no place else to go and spends his days and nights reading comic books or chatting with the “other Sam,” a giant stuffed panda. Mick provides us with moments of levity throughout the memoir; a particularly amusing example of this is his experience with these two Sams:
“They were usually deep in conversation when I dropped in, so I didn’t get to talk to him very much. Based on his qualifications, though, I appointed him Captain of the Universe, which meant he was basically in charge of the comic book section and could unlock the front door if I forgot my keys, which was like every day or so.”
Man Dream God is a hard-hitting reminder of how resilient we are as human beings—mentally, physically, and spiritually. Mick goes through hell and heaven and comes out of it alive, always with a new sense of himself and everything around him. It is fascinating to crawl into the mind of this man.
Print Length: 262 pages
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