Jonathan Rosen wrote a book that can’t really be described in a sentence and I’m not sure it really maps onto anything else I’ve read. It’s a memoir and a horror story and really, you just have to read it.
The Best Minds: A Story of Friendship, Madness, and the Tragedy of Good Intentions is about Rosen’s childhood best friend, Michael Laudor and what became of this once boy genius. The short story: Laudor goes from brilliant Yale undergrad, to well compensated yuppie, to an institutionalized schizophrenic adult, to celebrated and accommodated Yale Law student, to being the subject of a Ron Howard movie wherein he’s played by Brad Pitt, to, finally, the killer of his pregnant fiancé.
Just on the basis of that story alone, the book could be completely absorbing. But Rosen does something more with it all and we discuss so much of that in this podcast: His is a work that serves as a mirror for an era: Its ambitions, assumptions and tragic mistakes, all seen through the prism of one man’s journey.