Rosen's haunting investigation of the forces that led his closest childhood friend, Michael Laudor, from the heights of brilliant promise to the forensic psychiatric hospital where he has lived since killing the woman he loved. A story about friendship, love, and the price of self-delusion, The Best Minds explores the ways in which we understand—and fail to understand—mental illness.
Remarkable ... Rosen’s own memoir is the opposite of ruinous. It’s an inch-by-inch, pin-you-to-the-sofa reconstruction of his long friendship with Michael Laudor ... Rosen cannot release Laudor, but he has rehabilitated and rehumanized him on the page while honoring his victim. The Best Minds is too a thoughtfully built, deeply sourced indictment of a society that prioritizes profit, quick fixes and happy endings over the long slog of care ... Brave and nuanced.
The Best Minds is Rosen’s masterful attempt to reconcile what happened to Michael, Carrie and their families and friends, and how — or if — their story might have gone another direction. More than half a century later, Rosen looks squarely at his friendship and the ways in which a culture that reveres intellectual achievement can blind itself to the limitations of that same person’s mind ... Rosen asks uncomfortable but crucial questions, some of them unanswerable, all of them compelling, and the result is an incisive but intimate tour de force that’s as much about Michael’s story as it is about the stories we tell as a culture — what we value, what we see, and what we do our best not to see even when it’s right in front of us.