When people have kids there are aspects of continuity from generation to generation, and Solomon refers to these as vertical identities. What this book is about though, is horizontal identities, where a child is very different from the generations that preceded her, and often from everyone else in the household. He looked at 10 different types of these horizontal identities (deaf, autistic, gifted, transgender and more) through tonnes and tonnes of family stories. It was very effective and empathy-building. Very recommended.
Written with wisdom and compassion. For those whose children struggle with issues different from their parents - you are not alone.
As a teacher, I strongly suggest that every educator read this book.
The prose in the book is excellent. The interviews with parents and children are emotionally gripping.This is a book that everyone should read as it relates to identity, something everyone strives to achieve. Although the author does mention it, this collection of stories is non random and therefore this is not a true scientific review of people with the corresponding conditions. Nonetheless this book is an exceptional read.
This book is very long, but Solomon's prose is gripping, and he has done extensive research and interviewing. He is a big thinker who strives for fairness. I learned something on every page. Highly recommended.
Andrew Solomon is the most popular guest Steve Paikin's The Agenda has ever had; the most viewers. He is a delight and obviously extremely intelligent. I am waiting for The Agenda to have him again as a guest. You can probably play yourself a clip on You Tube
Jill Shumaker suggested I read this book
If you, or someone you care about, has an individual in the family who does not fit the "family mold". (e.g. gay, autistic, etc.) please read this book and pass it on. It is alos a "must read" for professionals who work with/for familes of exceptional children or adults.
It's extremely rare for me to give a book (or anything else, for that matter) a five star rating. Nothing is perfect, after all. However, Far from the Tree treats such an important topic (the necessity of, not just acknowledging and accepting difference, but learning to love it), I have no choice. As I write this, I'm reminded of the cliched promises on old movie posters: "You'll laugh! You'll Cry!". Reading this volume, I did both—often. At times, I found myself at the kitchen table in the wee hours of the morning, chuckling, guffawing, sniffling and/or sobbing. The emotional impact of Far from the Tree is stunning.
Monumental? Yes. Intimidating? Definitely. Worthwhile? Absolutely. Andrew Solomon's "Far From The Tree" represents the culmination of a decade's worth of research and writing. The author interviewed hundreds of families for his book and, in 12 chapters filled with inspiring but harrowing stories, he tells of these families' struggles with autism, deafness, schizophrenia, dwarfism and more. Children with these conditions are "apples that have fallen elsewhere — some a couple of orchards away, some on the other side of the world."
Solomon also explores the lives of prodigies, "freaks" of another sort who feel as isolated, mystified and petrified as those with disabilities. Ultimately, he approaches each subject in a profoundly personal way, interweaving his own story of growing up gay, dyslexic and suicidal. He calls for a redefinition of difference, arguing in favour of vulnerability and empathy over ignorance and disgust. He values self-acceptance over fitting in and offers startling, inspiring revelations within a stunning work of scholarship.
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