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Værker af Robert Kolker

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The Best American Legal Writing 2009 (2009) — Bidragyder — 18 eksemplarer

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Don and Mimi seemed to have the perfect, if unusually large, family. He was military, but liberal-minded. She was a supporter of the arts and active in the community despite having 12 children in 20 years. Good in school, athletic, musically inclined, the ten boys and two girls seemed cut from the All-American mold. Then one after another, six of the boys would suffer spectacular breakdowns and eventually be diagnosed with schizophrenia. At first, Don and Mimi tried to gloss over the violence and eccentricities that tainted their middle-class bubble. But soon, tragedy would make that impossible.

Interspersed with chapters about different members of the family, are chapters about the history of schizophrenia, it's diagnosis and treatment, and the researchers who tried to find the genetic markers and better ways to treat or prevent the disease. While researching the book, the author interviewed, not only all the living members of the family, but the doctors, researchers, and therapists who worked with the family or with their DNA. The result is a family biography put into context with the medical history. For me, this saved the book from being voyeuristic. I was glad to know that the entire family consented to having their very personal story told. I thought it was well-written and balanced, addressing many of the social issues surrounding mental illness with objective compassion.
… (mere)
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labfs39 | 86 andre anmeldelser | Jan 29, 2024 |
I've mostly missed the ongoing true crime boom, but I suspect that "Lost Girls" is probably not the sort of book that's going to give fans the sort of payoff that they're looking for. As it stands, the book is out of date: not only have these girls' killer been arrested but Backpage and Craigslist have more or less ceased to exist, as far as working escorts are concerned. Kolker doesn't much focus on the forensic aspects of the case; indeed, he seems to have relatively few contacts inside Long Island police departments. This means that "Lost Girls" isn't so much a book about an unsolved case but about the difficult sets of circumstances that led these four girls to end up on this rather tony section of Long Island's wetlands and about the emotional pain they left behind when their families realized that they were gone forever. While I agree with several reviewers that it's sometimes difficult to keep all four of these stories' separate, the author is good at describing what drew them to the sex trade: easy money, convenience, involvement with drugs, and an economy that's been in long-term decline for generations. Kolker makes clear that all of the girls left an impression -- none of them could be said to be shy and retiring -- and that they had talents that, under some other circumstances, they might have put to better use. That gives the book a palpable sense of loss, and one that only augments the more personal loss that's felt by the families, with whom the author seems to have built real relationships. He describes both how their immediate family members try to keep their memories alive and how they try to keep their lost relatives in the public eye as the public's preoccupation with this mystery waxes and wanes. The book's saddest sections might be those in which the lost girls' own family members realize that, despite their best efforts, they can't remember absolutely everything about them anymore. No memory really stands eternally.

"Lost Girls" is also very much a story about technology, and it provides an invaluable look at the mechanics of how escorting worked in the first decade of the twenty-first century, after what might be called late Web 1.0 made sex workers and johns more available to each other. While I admit that I was surprised that any vestiges of the skin trade still operated in newly redeveloped Times Square, the author seems to communicate his own ambiguity as to whether these new technological innovations have made women working with their bodies safer or more independent. Still, he's very thorough about what sort of protection a pimp is supposed to provide, which calls are considered more or less risky, and how women on the streets check in with friends or family to help keep them out of harm's way. Kolker artfully shows that, for these girls, money that was comparatively easy to make and abundant came with alliances and compromises that were tough to escape and hopes, against all odds, that acceptance a commitment to transparency from all parties involved might keep events from the ones described in this book from happening. While the victims' families obviously did everything they could to keep their relatives' memories alive, his book, which later became a Netflix series, might be the best and most lasting monument to their shortened lives that we'll ever have.
… (mere)
TheAmpersand | 35 andre anmeldelser | Dec 22, 2023 |
Carefully documented, compassionate, and absorbing account of a family of 12 children growing up in Colorado mid 20th c. Of the 10 boys of Don and Mimi Galvin, 6 are diagnosed with schizophrenia or related psychoses as they become late teens. Their lives become dominated by violence and abuse. The author interweaves a history of schizophrenia treatment and controversy with the Galvin's story in an unforgettable narrative of family crises, love, and pain.
GigiB50 | 86 andre anmeldelser | Dec 18, 2023 |
4.5 stars

My favorite nonfiction read of the year, so far!

I learned more about schizophrenia and the search for a cause, treatment, or cure, which was really interesting.

The Galvin family was incredibly dysfunctional, even apart from the mental illness, which was sad. There is a lot of sexual abuse recorded.

Note: There's some profanity, and a brief reference to evolutionary theory as fact. The sexual abuse of children is referenced very frequently, and was sometimes a bit too detailed, in my opinion.… (mere)
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RachelRachelRachel | 86 andre anmeldelser | Nov 21, 2023 |



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