Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity

Andrew Solomon
Solomon’s startling proposition in Far from the Tree is that being exceptional is at the core of the human condition—that difference is what unites us. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, or multiple severe disabilities; with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, and Solomon documents triumphs of love over prejudice in every chapter. All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent should parents accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves. Drawing on ten years of research and interviews with more than three hundred families, Solomon mines the eloquence of ordinary people facing extreme challenges. Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original and compassionate thinker, Far from the Tree explores how people who love each other must struggle to accept each other—a theme in every family’s life.


Reviewed: 2016-04-18

With Dr. Smagorinsky

Reviewed: 2015-02-01

Incredibly touching, yet depressing book. The amount of research that goes into this is astounding and the views of all people involved are brilliant as well. But I couldn't get through it. As someone who wants to be a parent 5 years or so down the line, I couldn't imagine having a child who wouldn't be able to walk, talk, etc. Call me selfish, but it scares me. I openly accept all people and if my child were disabled, I would accept them too. But I just couldn't finish this book. I do give it 5 stars for the writing and the quality of the content that went in, I am keeping the book, it's just not one of those books that I would rave about.

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