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

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Simon and Schuster, 2012 - Family & Relationships - 962 pages
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, a Books for a Better Life Award, and one of The New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of 2012, this masterpiece by the National Book Award-winning author of The Noonday Demon features stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children, but also find profound meaning in doing so—“a brave, beautiful book that will expand your humanity” (People).

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.
 

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User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

A book mostly about what it’s like for parents and children who are very different from each other, though there’s a bit about deaf of deaf people and how their experiences are distinct from deaf of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DonnaMarieMerritt - LibraryThing

Meticulously researched (in fact, there are over 100 pages of Notes at the end and a Bibliography of almost 100 pages). This book opened my eyes. I thought I was an accepting, nonjudgemental person ... Read full review

Contents

Son
1
Deaf
49
Dwarfs
115
Down Syndrome
169
Autism
221
Schizophrenia
295
Disability
355
Prodigies
405
Rape
477
Transgender
599
Father
677
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Andrew Solomon is a professor of psychology at Columbia University, president of PEN American Center, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, NPR, and The New York Times Magazine. A lecturer and activist, he is the author of Far and Away: Essays from the Brink of Change: Seven Continents, Twenty-Five Years; the National Book Critics Circle Award-winner Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, which has won thirty additional national awards; and The Noonday Demon; An Atlas of Depression, which won the 2001 National Book Award, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and has been published in twenty-four languages. He has also written a novel, A Stone Boat, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award and The Irony Tower: Soviet Artists in a Time of Glasnost. His TED talks have been viewed over ten million times. He lives in New York and London and is a dual national. For more information, visit the author's website at AndrewSolomon.com.

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