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Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family

af Robert Kolker

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,4758712,197 (4.16)100
"Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living 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: the oldest born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. In those years, there was an established script for a family like the Galvins--aspiration, hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony--and they worked hard to play their parts. But behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. 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 National Institutes of Mental Health. Their story offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia, from the era of institutionalization, lobotomy, and the schizophrenogenic mother, to the search for genetic markers for the disease, always amidst profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself. And unbeknownst to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today, offering paths to treatment, prediction, and even eradication of the disease for future generations. With clarity and compassion, bestselling and award-winning author Robert Kolker uncovers one family's unforgettable legacy of suffering, love and hope"--… (mere)
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Engelsk (86)  Spansk (1)  Alle sprog (87)
Viser 1-5 af 87 (næste | vis alle)
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. ( )
1 stem labfs39 | Jan 29, 2024 |
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 | 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. ( )
1 stem RachelRachelRachel | Nov 21, 2023 |
Hidden valley road.
This book is extremely interesting and very well written. It describes the lives of the Galvin family from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Mimi and Don Galvin had 12 children, 10 boys and 2 girls between 1945 and 1965. Six of the boys developed schizophrenia in their late teens and they became the perfect laboratory for studying the effects of this disease on the brain and the development of drugs and procedure to treat the disease.
Family life for the Galvin was full of hard work, hockey, music, ballet, socializing and achievement. Mimi worked very tirelessly at raising her children and maintaining a social status within the community. Don became the director of a national foundation which allowed him to hobnob with the rich and famous. Behind the scenes, their family was disintegrating. Donald, the eldest was the first son to exhibit signs of schizophrenia. Five others followed. All were patients at the Pueblo Medical Hospital in Colorado.
Mary and Margaret and the sons at home felt abandoned and neglected by parents who were preoccupied by their sick boys or their social life. The girls were molested by older brother Jim and the boys were unsupervised as teenagers.

A parallel narrative to the family story is a history of psychiatry and mental illness, whether it is caused by nature or nurture. As the decades pass, new technology and the human genome project allows for greater research and analysis into the far reaches of the brain. Finding the right gene and developing the right pharmaceuticals are not quite there. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Sep 14, 2023 |
Hidden Valley Road isn’t a book to judge by its cover. The photo on its front shows a family of fourteen - Don and Mimi Galvin and their twelve children - lined up on a staircase without a hint of the roller coaster ride their lives would become. Robert Kolker balances the story of this family and the six boys in it who went on to develop schizophrenia, with a well‑written account of the disorder, the theories about its cause, and the search for effective treatments. One thing in it that struck me was the idea that schizophrenia might be part of a neurodiversity spectrum along with autism and bipolar disorder. There is so much to unpack in this I know I’ll be thinking about it and rereading the parts I underlined for some time to come. ( )
  wandaly | Aug 8, 2023 |
Viser 1-5 af 87 (næste | vis alle)
Kolker’s telling of the Galvin trials is at once deeply compassionate and chilling. ... Interwoven with the harrowing familial story is the history of how the science on schizophrenia has fitfully evolved, from the eras of institutionalization and shock therapy, to the profound disagreements about the cause and origins of the illness, to the search for genetic markers for the disease.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerWashington Post, Karen Iris Tucker (pay site) (Apr 9, 2020)
 
Kolker carefully reconstructs the story of the household falling into bedlam as the strong, athletic brothers warred with their demons and one another in flights of violent rage, each one slipping further away. ... Kolker is a restrained and unshowy writer who is able to effectively set a mood. As the walls begin closing in for the Galvins, he subtly recreates their feeling of claustrophobia, erasing the outside world that has offered so little help.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerThe New York Times, Sam Dolnick (pay site) (Apr 3, 2020)
 
Hidden Valley Road blends two stories in alternating chapters. The first is about the overwhelmed Galvin parents, Don and Mimi, and how raising a boisterous Catholic family of 10 sons from the 1950s to the ’70s may have allowed mental illness to hide in plain sight. ... The second story in Hidden Valley Road details the thankless psychiatric research that has gone into defining schizophrenia and establishing treatments. ... Kolker is a compassionate storyteller who underscores how inadequate medical treatment and an overreliance on “tough love” and incarceration underpin so much of the trauma this family experienced.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerBookPage, Jessica Wakeman (Apr 1, 2020)
 
Best-selling, award-winning journalist Kolker (Lost Girls, 2013) takes a bracing look at the history of the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia by exploring the staggering tragedies of the Galvin family. ... he weaves the larger history of schizophrenia research and how the family eventually came to the attention of scientists striving to find a cure. Kolker tackles this extraordinarily complex story so brilliantly and effectively that readers will be swept away. An exceptional, unforgettable, and significant work that must not be missed.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerBooklist, Colleen Mondor (Feb 15, 2020)
 
Journalist Kolker (Lost Girls) delivers a powerful look at schizophrenia and the quest to understand it. He focuses on a much-studied case: that of Colorado couple Don and Mimi Galvin’s 12 children, born between 1945 and 1965, six of whom were diagnosed with the illness. ... This is a haunting and memorable look at the impact of mental illness on multiple generations.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerPublishers Weekly (Feb 4, 2020)
 
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The clearest way that you can show endurance is by sticking with a family. -Anne Tyler
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Prologue: A brother and sister walk out of their house together, through the patio door that opens out from the family kitchen and into their backyard.
Chapter 1: Every so often, in the middle of doing yet another thing she'd never imagined doing, Mimi Galvin would pause and take a breath and consider what, exactly, had brought her to that moment.
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For a family, schizophrenia is, primarily, a felt experience, as if the foundation of the family is permanently tilted in the direction of the sick family member.
But one thing seemed true: If they admitted Donald to anything resembling a mental hospital, the only certainties were shame and disgrace, and the end of Donald’s college education, and the tainting of Don’s career, and a stain on the family’s position in the community, and finally the end of the chance for their other eleven children to have respectable, normal lives.
...schizophrenia itself remained ragingly mysterious, and the drugs themselves could be physically damaging? The drugs made some patients obese, others stiff and ungainly, others practically catatonic—this from drugs that had been hailed as miracles. For the chronically mentally ill, success had been defined down to a point where it was starting to look a lot like failure. The only real, unambiguous beneficiary of drugs, of course, were pharmaceutical companies—all of which were still developing variations of the same original drug, Thorazine, that had been developed back in the 1950s. Then again, their very efficacy had seemed to stifle innovation. Why was it that every new drug brought to market had been either a version of neuroleptics like Thorazine or atypical neuroleptics like clozapine—with no disrupting third class of drug to spur forward progress?
“One of the things that has characterized psychiatry research forever is the old saying of, ‘Looking for the lost keys where the light is.’ Everything has been, ‘Well, we have this tool. We have a hammer, so we’re going to look for nails.’ And we would find things, because this is the nature of phenomenology—you find things.” Whether they were promising leads or red herrings, no one knew for sure.
The schizophrenia researcher Rue L. Cromwell described this dilemma in the 1970s: “Like riding the merry-go-round, one chooses his horse. One can make believe his horse leads the rest. Then when a particular ride is finished, one must step off only to observe that the horse has really gone nowhere. Yet, it has been a thrilling experience. There may even be the yen to go again.”
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"Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living 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: the oldest born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. In those years, there was an established script for a family like the Galvins--aspiration, hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony--and they worked hard to play their parts. But behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. 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 National Institutes of Mental Health. Their story offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia, from the era of institutionalization, lobotomy, and the schizophrenogenic mother, to the search for genetic markers for the disease, always amidst profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself. And unbeknownst to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today, offering paths to treatment, prediction, and even eradication of the disease for future generations. With clarity and compassion, bestselling and award-winning author Robert Kolker uncovers one family's unforgettable legacy of suffering, love and hope"--

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