Plano Reads: Hidden Valley Road

Come join us for a discussion of Hidden Valley Road at noon on Thursday, October 28, 2021 at Parr Library for our next Brown Bag Book Club.

Continue reading for a summary, review and additional resources.

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

On Thanksgiving Day, Mimi Galvin, an energetic mother of twelve, set her table with her Sunday best china and crystal. She and her husband, Don Galvin, who had been named Father of the Year by a local civic group, sat down to a sparkling table to start the Thanksgiving feast. Until, that is, her son overturned the table in a rage. In direct contrast to outward appearances, the family was slowly descending into bedlam as six of their sons slipped into madness one by one. Six sons with schizophrenia is the stuff of tragedy. It is also a medical mystery. 

What do we know about this mysterious and devastating illness that takes young adults and sends them on a path spiraling downwards? Do the Galvins offer any clues as to the source of this mysterious and devastating illness?

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Author Robert Kolker tells the story of the Galvins with sensitivity and compassion. He makes each family member distinctive and refuses to wallow in tawdry details. It is a compelling and heart-rending family story.

Kolker deftly follows the psychiatric, chemical, and biological theories proposed to explain schizophrenia and the various treatments foisted upon the brothers. Most poignantly, he portrays the impact on the unafflicted children of the brothers’ illness, an oppressive emotional atmosphere, and the family’s festering secrets.

Kirkus Reviews, 2020

Learn more about author Robert Kolker on his website, which includes articles and additional information about Hidden Valley Road and other titles.


Come join us for a discussion of Hidden Valley Road at noon on Thursday, October 28, 2021 at Parr Library.

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