book reviews

#BookReview Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker

If you want your mind completely blown away then grab this book!

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family has been sitting on my shelf for probably too long. I’ve looked at it, thought about reading it, and then just decided otherwise. I wanted more fiction in my life! Or so I thought. This non-fiction book is as enticing and intriguing as a lot of the fiction books I’ve been picking up (if not more). Honestly, this book will open your eyes to a world you probably never thought much of. What happens to families where multiple family members have schizophrenia? And what if that family was way back in the 1940s-1960s?

This story makes my heart ache. It’s not an easy story to hear but it’s an important one to tell. Not only is it important, it tells you a lot of history about mental health and mental illnesses. With mental health becoming further into the forefront and actually being taken seriously (well, some of the time… unfortunately), this is an important story to learn about and tell. Lindsay and Margaret and the rest of the gang deserve so much better. Hopefully their story will help change the course of history and help many families and their loved ones in the future.

We have a picture perfect family from the 1940s, right? Two loving parents and their twelve children (which sounds like a lot now, and was a bit of a lot back then… but it’s a big family). They all seem perfect and happy and it’s exactly what you want, right? The duo finally get two beautiful girls and all seems right in the world. Until their sons start unravelling… Six of their sons get diagnosed with mental health issues (schizophrenia, maybe bipolar or other issues as well – diagnosing mental illnesses wasn’t a perfect science back then). The family struggles with these issues. What are you supposed to do when your son dresses up like a monk and spouts out religious nonsense to the world and then tries beating everyone up? It’s not like there’s a rule book or a play book to help you with that sort of thing. Especially in a time when mental health was a topic we didn’t like to talk about.

Things weren’t easy (and that’s putting it lightly). The story goes into some brutal and harsh details about the Galvin family’s life and social circle. It will hurt your heart but it will also let you inside a very scary world. Especially one for young girls and children! Can you imagine how it would feel to feel like you’re losing your siblings? To have history covered up? The painful memories. My heart aches and I have so much empathy.

The one good take away? This family helped with a lot of research. Their blood samples and medical history has given the science world something to start and go off of when dealing with schizophrenia. It’s awful cases like these that can sometimes change the views of the world. Luckily, their story is helping shape the medical community.

This is a must read book. I honestly couldn’t believe how eye opening, how incredible and how strange this book was. It reads like a really well written fiction, and sometimes you get so lost in the story you forget it’s real. Pick this book up! It’s high on my recommendation list! Especially for lovers of non-fiction.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Check this book out by clicking on the links below:
Barnes & Noble

Looking for more non-fiction to pack onto your TBR? Well, I have just what you need on my blog:
#BookReview Crime Scene by Kate Lines
#BookReview To Wendy’s With Love by Diane Keyes
#BookReview Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

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3 thoughts on “#BookReview Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker”

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