Author(s): Andrew Solomon
"Andrew Solomon's investigation of many of the most intense challenges that parenthood can bring compels us all to re-examine how we understand human difference. Perhaps the greatest gift of this monumental book, full of facts and full of feelings, is that it constantly makes one think, and think again". (Philip Gourevitch). In this seminal new study of family, Andrew Solomon tells the stories of parents who learn to deal with their exceptional children and find profound meaning in doing so. He introduces us to families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, disability, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, Solomon documents repeated triumphs of human love and compassion to show that the shared experience of difference is what unites us. "Reading "Far from the Tree" is a mind-opening experience". (Eric Kandel). Drawing on interviews with over three hundred families, Solomon documents ordinary people making courageous choices, whether considering prenatal screening for genetic disorders, cochlear implants for the deaf, or gender reassignment surgery. Parents and children are challenged to their limits, but often grow closer as a result; many discover supportive communities of others similarly affected; some are inspired to become activists, celebrating the conditions they once feared. Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original thinker, "Far From The Tree" explores themes of generosity, acceptance and tolerance - and shows how love for one's children can transcend every prejudice. This crucial and revelatory book expands our definition of what it is to be human. "A brave and ambitious work, bringing together science, culture and a powerful empathy. Solomon tells us that we have more in common with each other - even with those who seem anything but normal - than we would ever have imagined". (Malcolm Gladwell).
Difference is an uncomfortable issue. The worlds we build around ourselves are made up of the familiar and the similar. So what happens when your child - the most familiar person of all - is radically different from you?
Far from the Tree is a landmark, revolutionary book. Andrew Solomon plumbs his topic thoroughly, humanely, and in a compulsively readable style that makes the book as entertaining as it is illuminating. -- Jennifer Egan One of the most extraordinary books I have read in recent times - brave, compassionate and astonishingly humane. Solomon approaches one of the oldest questions - how much are we defined by nature versus nurture? - and crafts from it a gripping narrative. Through his stories, told with such masterful delicacy and lucidity, we learn how different we all are, and how achingly similar. I could not put this book down. -- Siddhartha Mukherjee A passionate and affecting work that will shake up your preconceptions and leave you in a better place. It's a book everyone should read. there's no one who wouldn't be a more imaginative and understanding parent - or human being - for having done so. breathtaking reading. -- Julie Myerson New York Times Andrew Solomon reminds us that nothing is more powerful in a child's development than the love of a parent. This remarkable new book introduces us to mothers and fathers - many in circumstances the rest of us can hardly imagine - who are making their children feel special, no matter what challenges come their way. -- President Bill Clinton The first thing you should know about Andrew Solomon's new book, Far From the Tree, is that it's a monumental work. This is a masterpiece of non-fiction, the culmination of a decade's worth of research and writing, and it should be required reading for psychologists, teachers, and above all, parents. Far From the Tree is a stunning work of scholarship and compassion. USA Today
Andrew Solomon is a highly regarded academic and journalist on politics, culture and psychology. He's lectured widely at Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Stanford amongst others, and writes regularly for The New Yorker, Newsweek, Guardian. His highly acclaimed international study of depression, The Noonday Demon won the 2001 National Book Award and was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize.