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Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family

di Robert Kolker

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
8155620,703 (4.15)52
"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 shockingviolence, 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"--… (altro)
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» Vedi le 52 citazioni

audio nonfiction - biography of a family severely affected by (hereditary) schizophrenia.

Between the constant trauma of the daughters' being sexually abused in childhood and the parents' creepy obsession with falconry and the 6 sons' increasingly violent behavioral issues, this is a pretty uncomfortable read, but at the same time kind of fascinating in the way of true crime and psychological/medical analysis. I have made it about halfway through and will keep going, but it is taking me a while. ( )
  reader1009 | Oct 23, 2021 |
All Pikes Peak Reads 2021

I had heard a lot about this book, and the story of the Galvin family is, frankly, incredible. Kolker manages to make this science-heavy book read like fiction, and I was enthralled the whole way through.

It is a little heavy on certain perspectives, but that's understandable. Kolker was limited to who was willing to talk to him and what they were willing to reveal. So we don't get the perspectives of the whole family, but we get enough to know that their brother's illness immensely affected every sibling in different ways.

Maybe not the book to go for if you want to really learn about schizophrenia, but absolutely a story that makes you remember our shared humanity. ( )
  Elna_McIntosh | Sep 29, 2021 |
So much research , interviews , went into writing this detailed look at a family with 12 children, 6 who have schizophrenia . The book describes each child and the parents in so much detail. Very tragic story.. ( )
  loraineo | Sep 26, 2021 |
This is a fascinating history of the evolution of the understanding and treatment of schizophrenia, against the backdrop of a family in which 6 of 12 children are schizophrenic. It is truly difficult to describe what life has been like for this family and the millions of others who struggle with severe mental illness. Mine has, and at times it feels like a made-for-tv movie. You cannot make these stories up! This book is well written and very readable. Enlightening. ( )
  hemlokgang | Sep 11, 2021 |
從我爸上一次住院時開始看,這一次同一原因再次入院我把書看完了,對書中正常兄弟姊妹的厭煩恐懼負罪感等都很有共鳴——人這麼容易被化學物質、神經等各種因素影響,激素環境一改變立馬就能變成另一個人,那麼「真正的自我」以及「意識」究竟是什麼?

書中的女性形象全都很立體、困境也很典型,或讓人同情或為之不忿——
戰後城市女追求愛情放棄了紐約的文藝生活,隨著軍隊丈夫跑到科羅拉多山裡;
二孩媽媽上課時聽到將schizo歸咎於強勢媽媽的理論而倍感不爽,決心以此為課題,然而在找lab時又遭遇性別歧視差點沒能繼續;
年紀最小的妹妹經常要和發病的哥哥們單獨相處,被其中一個反覆猥褻乃至強姦、之後又被兩個高年生性侵,到寄宿學校後改名和過去的自己決裂,成年後卻產生了幸存者愧疚感,反過來照顧幾個病兄以及年事已高的母親;
稍長於她的姐姐則因早早被送至富裕家庭而感覺被拋棄,和母親心生嫌隙,在母親臨終時仍拒絕陪護,讓妹妹相當不解。

敘述科研發現的部分也很好看,甚至寫到了榮格和弗洛伊德的決裂,竟然是在一個精分病例上產生了分歧…… ( )
  puripuri | Sep 9, 2021 |
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.
aggiunto da Lemeritus | modificaWashington Post, Karen Iris Tucker (sito a pagamento) (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.
aggiunto da Lemeritus | modificaThe New York Times, Sam Dolnick (sito a pagamento) (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.
aggiunto da Lemeritus | modificaBookPage, 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.
aggiunto da Lemeritus | modificaBooklist, 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.
aggiunto da Lemeritus | modificaPublishers 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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For Judy and Jon
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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 shockingviolence, 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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