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Hidden Valley Road

Hidden Valley Road

Inside the Mind of An American Family

Book - 2020 | First edition
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The riveting story of an American family with twelve children, six of whom were diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science's great hope in the quest to conquer an elusive disease. Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living in the American dream. After World War II, Don's work with the Air Force brought them to Colorado, where their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom. There was a script for a family like the Galvins - hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony - and they all tried to play their parts. But behind the closed doors of the house on Hidden Valley Road was a far different reality: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, and hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after the other, were diagnosed with schizophrenia. And the other six children stood by, horrified, with no way of knowing whether they would be next. What took place on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institute of Mental Health. In a tour de force of narrative nonfiction, award-winning journalist Robert Kolker, author of the bestselling Lost Girls, tells the intimate story of the Galvins alongside the epic tale of science's quest to uncover the true nature of a mystifying disease. Each mentally ill brother emerges as wholly individual, with remarkably different expression of the same disorder. The two youngest Galvins, the only girls, are indelible characters: best friends, both victimized by their brothers, who make sharply different choices about how to cope., The Galvins' story crests in a breakthrough that, thanks to their unique DNA, offers hope of eliminating schizophrenia forever. Hidden Valley Road is a captivating medical mystery and a heartbreaking drama. But above all, it is an unforgettable lesson in what it means to be a family. -- From dust jacket.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2020]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385543767
038554376X
9780525562641
0525562648
9780385543774
Call Number: 616.898 K813h 2020
Characteristics: xxi, 377 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

"By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after the other, were diagnosed as schizophrenic. How could all this happen to one family? What took place inside the house on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the Nat... Read More »


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l
LinChi
Jun 05, 2021

Finished May 22 2021
Really good!! An informative and at times horrifying read. Should reread

x
xiaojunbpl12
May 18, 2021

let the nature be,
to man pedigree;
drug and ECT,
life is false glee.
torture, no one flee;
nurture, mind set free.

e
ellenorndorf
May 08, 2021

This book is a tough read as six of the 12 children are mentally ill. Its an amazing story about a family. Lauren my friend from work gave it to me. I picked it for my August book club read.

gomegan Apr 29, 2021

A raw and heartbreaking family saga. It was compelling and fascinating and I could not stop reading about this family.

s
siturc
Apr 14, 2021

My oldest brother became schizo during high school. He was brilliant and got a full scholarship into a university. But schizophrenia destroyed his life and medication killed him. Hidden Valley Road read as tragically as my 5 siblings lived with one as a schizophrenic. It left me feeling no better about the disease but still frustratingly hopeful that a solution will be found to end the curse of schizophrenia.

p
pllarocco
Mar 21, 2021

Fascinating. Highly recommended. I couldn't put it down.

k
KLegood
Mar 18, 2021

This book touches the very soul of the disease. How it affects each member of the family over the decades. A must read for anyone who want to learn and understand the disease.

STPL_JessH Mar 17, 2021

Well, I don't mind telling you that Hidden Valley Road is excellent! As you may know, I have really high standards when it comes to sources in non-fiction material. This book was written with the cooperation of the family so Kolker had extensive access to medical records, family history, and first-person interviews. He also provides a clear and accessible history of the various approaches to schizophrenia treatment and research. Most importantly, Kolker writes with great sensitivity and care about very difficult issues. There is no glorification of violence or trauma; instead, he presents as many perspectives as possible and writes very respectfully about the many lives that are touched when people live with mental illness. Kolker treats all of his subjects with dignity even, and especially, in moments when they cause harm to themselves or others. I listened to the audiobook, of course, and was very impressed! Highly recommend Hidden Valley Road.

k
krsbozo
Feb 09, 2021

Another of the NY Times 10 best of 2020. It tells the story of a family in Colorado who had 12 children, ten boys and two girls. Six of the boys develop schizophrenia. Amazingly heartbreaking story, and there are many connections with my own life. My brother also developed schizophrenia during the same time period (late 1960s), and this had a profound effect on my family. We were in New Mexico, so also in the Southwest. Truly an amazing story, and I can't say enough about the kindness of this family for opening up and telling their story in the hopes of helping others deal with this disease.

k
kathyonpost
Jan 12, 2021

A fascinating look at an increasingly chaotic family of 12 children, 10 boys. There is a lot of competition and fighting between the boys that becomes increasingly violent. And one by one the boys start experiencing irrational beliefs which cause them to do irrational things like throwing all the furniture out of the house, or walking down the centre line of a highway at night. Finally the behaviour is given a label-schizophrenia. We learn how the family attempted to cope with and get treatment for the boys. They are sent to various psychiatric hospitals and later special facilities that temporarily house and treat the boys. ECT therapy, drug therapy, restraints-it becomes a revolving door where they are stabilized for a couple of months and then released back home, only to return to the hospital or clinic. The chaos in the family home never really stops. From the 50's to the present day, we learn that effective treatments for schizophrenia remain elusive.

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