25 Oct / Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker [in Library Journal]
Once upon a time, the Galvin family seemed perfect. Father Don’s work with the Air Force brought the family to (coincidentally, presciently named) Hidden Valley Road in Colorado. There, mother Mary oversaw the raising and nurturing of their dozen children – 10 boys and two girls born between 1945 and 1965. But behind closed doors, violence, neglect, and abuse soon revealed even deeper issues: Six Galvin sons would be diagnosed with schizophrenia. As horrific as the family’s tragedy is, their experiences provide scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health (and beyond) with invaluable insights into a long-misunderstood illness.
What could easily have devolved into lurid voyeurism becomes a journalistic masterpiece in Robert Kolker’s (Lost Girls) spellbinding latest. Sean Pratt proves himself Kolker’s ideal aural alter ego, avoiding all sensationalizing, narrating with the same deliberate control when he reveals a murder-suicide as when he interprets neuroscientific data. Pratt’s captivating ability to seamlessly shift between personal stories and medical history is testimony to the book’s resonating brilliance.
Whether on the page or in the ears, all libraries will want to enable readers with easy access to what will certainly be one of the most award-winning titles of the year.