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Far From The Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Solomon
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £11.99
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Book Description

**WINNER OF THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE 2014**



A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER



Sometimes your child - the most familiar person of all - is radically different from you. The saying goes that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. But what happens when it does?



Drawing on interviews with over three hundred families, covering subjects including deafness, dwarfs, Down's Syndrome, Autism, Schizophrenia, disability, prodigies, children born of rape, children convicted of crime and transgender people, Andrew Solomon documents ordinary people making courageous choices. Difference is potentially isolating, but Far from the Tree celebrates repeated triumphs of human love and compassion to show that the shared experience of difference is what unites us.



Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for General Non-fiction and eleven other national awards. Winner of the Green Carnation Prize.



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Review

"The tales Solomon returns with, of profound disability and extreme differences overcome, make it a bible of empathy and inclusion" (Cressida Connolly Spectator)

"Andrew Solomon’s Far From The Tree is a prodigious, illuminating book about the challenge of being a parent – especially when children are out of the ordinary" (Tim Adams Observer)

"Life-affirming, thought provoking and highly readable, the book was compiled over 10 years of interviews and I found it deeply moving" (Kate Kellaway Observer)

"Many accounts are desperately moving, but Solomon goes far beyond cheap pity... The book is an exquisite written study of parental love – as well as "a how-to manual for receptivity"" (Kerry Hudson Herald)

"[A] magnificent study of disability and identity differences" (Susannah Meadows New York Times)

"This wise book is a careful and surprising study of difference between parent and child and how it shapes our lives" (Stephen Grosz Sunday Telegraph)

"For anyone struggling with decisions over parenting, it’s an affirming reminder that there is no such thing as “normal”" (Femke Colborne Big Issue in the North)

"Parents – especially mothers – are the heroes of this book, many of them describing with extraordinary absence of self-pity how they have coped with almost unimaginable adversity" (Dominic Lawson Sunday Times)

"Solomon really makes you think... Uniquely brilliant" (William Leith Evening Standard)

"Beautiful" (The Times)

Book Description

**WINNER OF THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE 2014**

Sometimes your child – the most familiar person of all – is radically different from you. The saying goes that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But what happens when it does?


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and absorbing read 11 Mar. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Extraordinary study of parenthood drawing on over 500 interviews with parents of children with differences/disabilities ranging from dwarfism to autism and transgender. There's even an interesting foray into parenting child musical prodigies. Throughout, Solomon reflects on his own position as a gay father and how the experience of meeting people who'd had children in the hardest of circumstances still managed to value and love their kids regardless of the hardship. This is a very long read so requires time and commitment but is well worth it in the end.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating, Informative and Moving... 30 May 2013
By Katya
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the 'professional' reviewers on the jacket blurb states that reading this book will make you a more enlightened human being - I could not agree more. I originally bought it because of the chapter on crime - criminal/forensic psychology has been a passion of mine since I studied it at university (before that, actually), and so I was mainly interested in this chapter; how many times when a terrible crime is committed is there an outpouring of sympathy and support for the victims and their families (rightly so) while the perpetrators family and their suffering is largely neglected? But right from the very first chapter this book is gripping; the breadth of Andrew Solomon's research is phenomenal and the different topics are all handled with great sensitivity. It's one of the most profoundly moving things I've ever read and, whilst it may appear to be a 'textbook' in its subject matter, it's written as eloquently and easily as a bestselling novel. I now look at the world in general - and the troubled kids I work with specifically - in a whole new light. It's absolutely wonderful.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! 9 Jan. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A total tour de force - an incredible amount of work has gone into it; hours and hours seem to have spent with each family portrayed in the book. And very detailed discussions of each topic, clearly identifying the nuances and the different ways of looking at the relevant problem. A must-buy for those dealing with children's issues.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important book 4 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There is a point in the book where Solomon talks about a famous short prose piece (on going to the Netherlands instead of Italy as allegory for having a disabled child) that everyone with a disabled child is emailed at least once by a friend. This book should become the new version of that: the gift that all of us with "different" children - of any kind - is given by those who love us. It's long, but truly, he writes so well that you will not find it easy to put down. A revelation about so many worlds, and the proof of our unacknowledged biases is that we didn't know more of it before...
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, riveting 30 Jun. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I must admit the size of this book is rather off-putting. It also seemed to cut off the circulation to my legs when I started. But I soon forgot these discomforts because it is FASCINATING. I don't have children. I'm not pregnant. But the attention to detail that had gone into the research of this book, the way each family and their challenges were introduced made it fascinating. It is funny, tragic, heart-breaking, affirming and thought-provoking all in one read. It is one of the best non-fiction books I've read in years. You could sense that this wasn't a casual project, years had been devoted and care had gone into the families he worked with to produce this. It is also a real talent to write about such an emotive subject in the entirely non-judgemental style he managed to do so- I came out of each chapter aware of the controversies around the topics (cochlear implants vs deaf culture, early transition and puberty blockers versus waiting in transgender children) feeling aware of the pros and cons but not having been guided to the "right" answer by the author- because there isn't one.

So why 4 stars not 5? Mostly because of one chapter- Prodigies. It was such a horrible misjudgement it almost derailed the book for me. Especially wedged between children with multiple severe disabilities and children of rape. To go from "oh it's so hard to raise a child who loves playing the piano" to the story of a mother dying of HIV pondering whether it is better for her HIV-positive child of rape to pre-decease her or not seemed ridiculous and cruel. Recommend skipping that chapter and focusing on the rest.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perspectives 28 April 2013
By hmmmm
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great read: well written and something I haven't considered in years ... When you're a teenager you might have thought your parents weren't really your own and you were somehow adopted. Or in my case, I was convinced my "real" parents were aliens who lived "somewhere" in the stars. This book looks at the same issue, but from a parent's perspective: that dissonance between parents and child. With much humanity, compassion and depth. From parent's of children who are deaf, autistic, gay or even those who turn to crime, the book explores the dilemmas, adjustments and frictions that arise. Ultimately, you realise that if you're ever going to be a parent, don't expect a carbon copy of yourself - but don't bemoan the fact. Difference can be life enhancing :) Awesome book :)
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. A very moving and beautifully written book that looks at the lives of families with children that are different. Thank you Andrew Solomon for writing this book. It's going to help me to be a better dad and a better person (this sounds cliched and the problem for me is articulating just how important this book is).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing. from a parent of a disabled child
amazing. from a parent of a disabled child. The first respectful book I've ever read. So lovely that someone asked, listened, respected, and wrote it all down. Read more
Published 29 days ago by pace
5.0 out of 5 stars should read this beautiful, scholarly book
Everyone interested in children, professional or parent, should read this beautiful, scholarly book. One to re-read again and again.
Published 3 months ago by Ms. L. M. Arend
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to be widely read
An important and thought-provoking book. It is a big book in every way - 700 pages of quite small print plus 260 pages of notes. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jod
5.0 out of 5 stars I feel a worse person reading this book but also feeling that it ...
I feel a worse person reading this book but also feeling that it is making me into a better one. Heavy going to read but equally fascinating and demanding more of my time.
Published 4 months ago by Edward
1.0 out of 5 stars It is a great pity that this book will go popularise the idea ...
I had high hopes for this book, but unfortunately these were not realised. The author proclaims that he is trying to increase understanding - however, I am afraid that he is... Read more
Published 4 months ago by A Swanepoel
4.0 out of 5 stars essential reading
not an easy read, but a real eye opener
Published 7 months ago by philippa
5.0 out of 5 stars I WAS LEFT WANTING MORE
great book,so informative,i learnt alot.a great author a well written book,everyone should have the chance to read.
Published 7 months ago by J. Rousen
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving analysis of love between parents and children and valuing...
I have found this book so moving and challenging as a parent. It makes the struggles I have to meet and know my children on their territory seem so easy compared to the challenges... Read more
Published 7 months ago by pat griffin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very informative
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A truly phenomenal book
Published 7 months ago by Zoe VA Riordan
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