the next good book

Hidden Valley Road

By Robert Kolker


377 pages

What’s it about? Don and Mimi Galvin are a typical American family raising their children in Colorado in the 1960’s and 70’s.  What is not typical is that they choose to have 12 children, and subsequently 6 of the 12 children are diagnosed with schizophrenia.  How does one family cope?  Was it nature, nurture, or a combination of both that accounts for this cluster of mental illness?  Robert Kolker weaves a story of science, research, and family in this book about the Galvin’s.What did it make me think about? This book shines a light on how much we don’t know about mental illness. ​ Should I read it? This was a  look at one family’s journey thought the mental health system.  Robert Kolker does a magnificent job of melding the story of one family dealing with schizophrenia with the study of schizophrenia itself.   At the same time I learned a lot about medical research and it’s relationship to the pharmaceutical industry.  So much to learn from this book.  If you are interested in science, research, or mental illness this book (by highlighting one family) tells a fascinating story. Quote- “Our relationships can destroy us, but they can change us, too, and restore us, and without us ever seeing it happen, they define us. ​     We are human because the people around us make us human.”

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