Hidden Valley Road

By Robert Kolker
Narrated by Sean Pratt

February 2021 Group Selection



Motivation to Move: 4.8 Sneakers
Quality of Narration: 4.2 Sneakers
Overall Experience: 4.5 Sneakers
Moving and listening time: 13 hours 8 minutes


“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. Even if just one child has schizophrenia, everything about the internal logic of that family changes.”

Hidden Valley Road might just be our favorite non-fiction audiobook to date!

Riveting, gripping, heart wrenching are all apt adjectives for the true story of one family’s mind-blowing experience with schizophrenia. In addition to the story’s humanity, the author weaves in psychiatry’s historical aspects, drug development, and treatment over eight decades. It covers the treatments from institutionalization, lobotomy to shock therapy.

Because this was a group selection, there is a curriculum of book extras on our Discussion Group Facebook page. You can find more information on the Galvin family, interviews with the sisters, and family pictures. There is also a link to an interesting article on “mother blaming” and the schizophrenogenic mother. Simply search the #hiddenvallyroad through the spyglass at the top right of the Discussion Group page.

Every once in a while, an audiobook comes along that keeps us motivated to move and listen for hours because it’s that captivating – Hidden Valley Road is one. Thank you, Galvin family, for your honesty and bravery. Bravo, Robert Kolker, for telling the family’s story in an honest, informative, and compassionate manner.

This is an audiobook that educates rather than entertains, making the narration less influential to the content; still, the narration is well done and appropriate for the subject.

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