We’ve all heard the old saying “The Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!” The context in which we hear it, is not usually positive. I’m guessing that it’s from this old saying that Andrew Solomon takes the title of his new book, Far From the Tree: Parents, children, and the search for identity. In this new bestseller, Solomon tackles the issue of parenting exceptional children.
Solomon begins with an analysis of the parent/child relationship, and how those roles have evolved. In the following chapters he offers keen observations and analysis of the relationship between parent and child, when this relationship is tested. Solomon eloquently writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. Solomon looks at how the wider community views these parents and children.
Drawn from forty thousand pages of interview transcripts with more than three hundred families, the stories in this book are heartbreaking, but many are inspirational, all are revealing; especially when we look into our own hearts. Booklist magazine states, “Solomon focuses on the creative and often desperate ways in which families manage to tear down prejudices and preconceived fears and reassemble their lives around the life of a child who alters their view of the world."
To listen to Michael Enright's interview with Andrew Solomon, please click here.