“Even if just one child has schizophrenia, everything about the internal logic of that family changes,” journalist Robert Kolker writes in his bestselling book, which traces the plight of a Colorado-based family devastated by the mental disorder. By the mid-1970s, six of the 12 Galvin children had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Kolker traces the family’s suffering in Hidden Valley Road, which focuses on how the Galvins were studied to help better understand the disease. Though so much of the story is rooted in tragedy — abuse, violence, death — Kolker’s voice remains empathetic as he balances breaking down the science behind schizophrenia and describing the gutting details of one family’s unthinkable circumstances.

The Best Books of 2020 So Far,” May 30, 2020