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

Andrew Solomon. Scribner, $35 (1,000p) ISBN 978-0-7432-3671-3
A profoundly moving new work of research and narrative by National Book Award–winner Solomon (The Noonday Demon) explores the ways that parents of marginalized children—being gay, dwarf, severely disabled, deaf, autistic, schizophrenic, the product of rape, or given to criminal tendencies or prodigious musical talent, to name a few he chose—have been transformed and largely enriched by caring for their high-needs children. These children are marginalized by society, classified traditionally as ill and abnormal, and shunned; in the cases of those who are deaf or homosexual, they were forced to conform to mainstream strictures. A seasoned journalist and LGBT activist, Solomon relies on anecdotes to convey the herculean tasks facing parents and caregivers of special-needs children because “stories acknowledge chaos,” and he takes great pains to probe the dark side of parental despair and anger, as well as ennobling efforts of resilience and strength. Sifting through arguments about nature versus nurture, Solomon finds some startling moments of discovery, for example, among Deaf activists who ferociously cling to their marginality, parents of children with Down syndrome who express their children’s infinite “mystery and beauty,” and the truculent compassion of Dylan Klebold’s parents, 10 years after the Columbine High School shootings. Solomon’s own trials of feeling marginalized as gay, dyslexic, and depressive, while still yearning to be a father, frame these affectingly rendered real tales about bravely playing the cards one’s dealt. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/17/2012
Release date: 11/13/2012
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FORMATS
Book - 978-1-4423-5610-8
Paperback - 962 pages - 978-0-7432-3672-0
Hardcover - 978-1-4423-5743-3
Open Ebook - 978-1-4464-3392-8
Open Ebook - 672 pages - 978-1-4391-8310-6
Hardcover - 978-0-7011-7611-2
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