Reading guide for Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

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Hidden Valley Road

Inside the Mind of an American Family

by Robert Kolker

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker X
Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2020, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2021, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. In Hidden Valley Road, each of the Galvin boys who are diagnosed with schizophrenia show different symptoms. How does schizophrenia present differently in each of the Galvin boys?
  2. How does the Galvin family adapt when the boys develop schizophrenia? Do any of the family members handle it better or worse than others?
  3. At the time when the Galvin boys are being diagnosed with schizophrenia, studies in mental illness claim the parents are responsible. How do you think this affected how Don and Mimi handled the changes happening in their family?
  4. How did growing up on an air force base positively or negatively affect the Galvin family?
  5. How did this book change your perception of mental illness?
  6. Discuss how the youngest Galvins, Lindsay and Margaret, both came to terms with their family's struggle with schizophrenia in different ways.
  7. Did your feelings change about any of the characters during the course of reading?
  8. What was your impression of Mimi at the beginning of the book? Did it change by the end?
  9. Tragedies have the power to shape families to bring them closer or pull them apart. How is the Galvin family shaped by their own tragedies?
  10. As the Galvin children begin having children of their own, how does their upbringing on Hidden Valley Road affect how they raise their own children?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Anchor Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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