Media Appearances for Hidden Valley Road and Robert Kolker
Robert Kolker’s first book, Lost Girls, is a heartbreaking and methodical account of women whose bodies were found on an isolated Long Island beach. It’s a true-crime book, but one where the violence is not the point. There is a tremendous amount of heart in Kolker’s writing and reporting: he makes you care about the people whose lives are destroyed by violence.
In his new book, Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family (Random House Canada), Kolker takes on a difficult subject and once again infuses it with heart and analyzes it with his characteristic perspicuity. The book revolves around the Galvin family of Colorado. Don Galvin, a rising star in the Air Force, and his wife, Mimi, a dedicated homemaker, had twelve children starting in 1945. Then, tragedy began to dismember the Galvin family, and six of the Galvins’s sons were diagnosed with schizophrenia. The compassion Kolker brought to Lost Girls is also evident here, now an Oprah’s Book Club pick, which is a penetrating story about how mental illness affects families….
About 3.2 million Americans have the brain disorder schizophrenia, but about 40 percent of schizophrenics go undiagnosed. That was the case for many of Mimi and Don Galvin’s sons: six of 12 siblings whose story is the subject of Robert Kolker’s compelling narrative, “Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family.”
Kolker embeds their shocking and poignant family story into the ongoing scientific quest to understand how schizophrenia works and how to treat its victims. “Hidden Valley Road” is author Robert Kolker’s second book, and it’s our May selection for “Bookmarked: The Under the Radar Book Club.”
“Book Club: Robert Kolker’s ‘Hidden Valley Road’,” May 1, 2020
“I love writing about families and people who never imagined they’d be in the news, as opposed to interviewing public figures,” says Kolker by phone from his Brooklyn home. “I’ve always wanted to tell a family story. This one seemed complicated and sad. My hope was to find the hope in the story, and to make it relatable by getting to know the people better and have their personalities be the entry point for people.”
“Best-selling author Robert Kolker joins “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King to discuss his new book, “Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family.” The book is a true story about a family of 12, and how their experience with mental illness helped transform the research in mental health. Kolker also shares his reaction to learning Oprah Winfrey announced it as a rare non-fiction selection for her Oprah’s Book Club.”
“No one has to be told how sensitive a subject mental illness can be — how those of us who have it in our lives often find it too painful to discuss with other people. But this family was ready. Every single surviving Galvin family member was interviewed for Hidden Valley Road, which Doubleday is publishing this week. I had free rein to follow this story wherever it led.”
“What It Was Like to Report on a Family Plagued by Schizophrenia,” April 7, 2020