Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

How do we raise children who are profoundly different than we ar

How do we raise children who are profoundly different than we are?

This is the question posed by award-winning writer Andrew Solomon in "Far From The Tree." How do parents deal with raising a child who isn't what they expected him or her to be? What if the ch...
How do we raise children who are profoundly different than we are?

This is the question posed by award-winning writer Andrew Solomon in "Far From The Tree." How do parents deal with raising a child who isn't what they expected him or her to be? What if the child is autistic? Deaf? Has Down Syndrome? Or has dwarfism? And how much does nurture have to do with the people our children become? Or is it more due to nature, or genetics that are unchangeable?

Solomon began writing this book twelve years ago, after attending a protest of deaf students who opened his eyes to seeing people with `differences' as not having disabilities, but having their own unique gifts. He follows the lives of many families who are faced with the challenge of raising children who are profoundly different than they expected them to be. Each of these stories reveals in their own way the nature of humanity, the unconditional love of parents for their children, and the desire for all humans to be valued as individuals.

Don't get me wrong, though. Not all parents succeed at raising their children to excel and rise above any cultural prejudices. Some fail, but that is unfortunately the nature of life, I suppose. Combining the successes with failures adds to the completeness of this book.

While putting the main focus on the families he describes in eloquent detail, Solomon also shines a spotlight on his own upbringing. The gay son of heterosexual parents, who was also dyslexic and bullied for not conforming to the stereotypical expectations of what a typical male should be, Solomon reveals how he overcame his insecurities to not only accept himself, but to decide to become a father.

As a father myself, I found Solomon's stories moving, inspiring, and thought-provoking. At times I wondered whether I would have the inner strength of many of the parents in this book. I would like to think so.

Reading this book made me think of two other exceptional books that also deal with unique parenting challenges. I highly recommend them as nice companions to Solomon's book.

Anthony Youn's "In Stitche"s successfully spotlights the clash that occurs when immigrant, old-school parents raise a child in today's America. How do children react when their parents push them excessively, causing them to become social outcasts? Youn's struggle to deal with his parents' expectations and being the only ethnic minority in his entire town, are at times humorous, moving, and inspiring. It has shades of the controversial book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother", but is a much more entertaining and empathetic read.

"Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety" is a memoir I recently discovered from Daniel Smith, a person challenged with severe anxiety issues all his life. Smith details his sometimes funny but always revealing methods he used to deal with anxiety, both as a child and in adulthood. His mother and their relationship is also a big part of his story. I enjoyed this one.

posted by 7970514 on November 15, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Not So Much

Disappointed! I thought it would be more of a personal story format! This reads a little too text bookish to me.

posted by 7193089 on January 4, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    How do we raise children who are profoundly different than we ar

    How do we raise children who are profoundly different than we are?

    This is the question posed by award-winning writer Andrew Solomon in "Far From The Tree." How do parents deal with raising a child who isn't what they expected him or her to be? What if the child is autistic? Deaf? Has Down Syndrome? Or has dwarfism? And how much does nurture have to do with the people our children become? Or is it more due to nature, or genetics that are unchangeable?

    Solomon began writing this book twelve years ago, after attending a protest of deaf students who opened his eyes to seeing people with `differences' as not having disabilities, but having their own unique gifts. He follows the lives of many families who are faced with the challenge of raising children who are profoundly different than they expected them to be. Each of these stories reveals in their own way the nature of humanity, the unconditional love of parents for their children, and the desire for all humans to be valued as individuals.

    Don't get me wrong, though. Not all parents succeed at raising their children to excel and rise above any cultural prejudices. Some fail, but that is unfortunately the nature of life, I suppose. Combining the successes with failures adds to the completeness of this book.

    While putting the main focus on the families he describes in eloquent detail, Solomon also shines a spotlight on his own upbringing. The gay son of heterosexual parents, who was also dyslexic and bullied for not conforming to the stereotypical expectations of what a typical male should be, Solomon reveals how he overcame his insecurities to not only accept himself, but to decide to become a father.

    As a father myself, I found Solomon's stories moving, inspiring, and thought-provoking. At times I wondered whether I would have the inner strength of many of the parents in this book. I would like to think so.

    Reading this book made me think of two other exceptional books that also deal with unique parenting challenges. I highly recommend them as nice companions to Solomon's book.

    Anthony Youn's "In Stitche"s successfully spotlights the clash that occurs when immigrant, old-school parents raise a child in today's America. How do children react when their parents push them excessively, causing them to become social outcasts? Youn's struggle to deal with his parents' expectations and being the only ethnic minority in his entire town, are at times humorous, moving, and inspiring. It has shades of the controversial book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother", but is a much more entertaining and empathetic read.

    "Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety" is a memoir I recently discovered from Daniel Smith, a person challenged with severe anxiety issues all his life. Smith details his sometimes funny but always revealing methods he used to deal with anxiety, both as a child and in adulthood. His mother and their relationship is also a big part of his story. I enjoyed this one.

    15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Not a light read, but really really good

    This is an intense book. Not light bedtime reading. Very interesting and informative. It is both scientific and entertaining, which is a difficult combination to achieve. Every night I go to bed thinking about what I have just read. Really glad I found this and would definitely recommend it.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 10, 2012

    This is a book for any parent, grandparent or family member of a special child

    Huge amounts of research, interviews that looked at both sides of raising a child withlife altering "issues".... The first issue was deafness which resinated with me because I am deaf. Solomon looked at all the difficult choices parents have to make as well as the impact of a deaf child on hearing and deaf parents. He also looked at the pain and exhaustion having a special child brings to parents often ill prepared. He is able to present both hero parents as well as those who struggle without giving an opinion about who is right. Since I work in mental health I was interested in his presentation of how the parents of transgendered respond to the loss of their sons to daughters. This is a big book and its expensive but well written and thoughtfully done.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    Extremely interesting and well-written. Captivating!

    After seeing the author profiled on the CBS Sunday Morning Show I figured such a talented speaker would produce a wonderful written account of the topic at hand. He certainly has accomplished that here!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    This is an absorbing, thought-provoking, sometimes heart-breakin

    This is an absorbing, thought-provoking, sometimes heart-breaking book that combines riveting personal stories with apparently well-researched facts. Not only parents of exceptional children, but all parents, can identify with and learn from it. I have been reading it slowly over the last month or so. It becomes too overwhelming to read for very long sessions, but I am regularly drawn back into it and am always left with new ideas to mull over.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    A worthwhile read, after the first chapter. So he's gay. Who c

    A worthwhile read, after the first chapter. So he's gay. Who cares? In spite of the national debate, it really makes no difference.




    Subsequent chapters are much baet

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    read if you only want one side of the story

    I found this book very unsettling. You possibly would like it if you come from the same perspective or opinion as the author. I found the research to be outdated and the interviews he selected were of his same bias. There is so much to the story. I am speaking on the "Deaf" chapter. He evidently has not done his homework outside of the Deaf culture (which of course deserves to be celebrated) because there are some amazing stories for deaf and hard of hearing kids who are communicating through spoken language that also deserve to be celebrated. He told none of those stories. Not an accurate picture in my opinion. Very misleading.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    very provocative book

    i have not finished this book yet, but i have read 4 chapters and find it riveting. sometimes it gets a little bogged down in details, but that shows the depth and scope of his research. overall, the book is a new and unique perspective on things you thought you knew. i find myself thinking about the book a lot - and looking at things differently.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Not So Much

    Disappointed! I thought it would be more of a personal story format! This reads a little too text bookish to me.

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    FinchWing

    He ran after her

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    Swetlily

    Tasted the air. "I smell.....finch!"tackled him laughing

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 26, 2013

    Good Info for Today's World

    Mr. Solomon gives us a personal view of people we seem to stereotype, whether we are aware of it or not. His insights and stories of dwarves, the deaf, autistic, etc. will broaden your knowledge and make you sympathetic to what its like from their viewpoint (if we can know it). And the book is easy to read. Good researched info interspersed with stories of those that have been there made the reading just flow. Frankly,I did not identify with most of stories as there was no personal link I was researching. I read it because it sounded interesting and because I want to know about different aspects of life on this Earth. Here certainly was a sampling. The author speaks for a those living under certain labels and does it well.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2013

    I first saw Andrew Solomon recently onThe Colbert Report and he

    I first saw Andrew Solomon recently onThe Colbert Report and he sounded so interesting, intelligent and also humorous and the ideas he proposed sounded so interesting that I decided to get this book from our local library to read bore investing the $.  I didn't realize that it was so 'hefty'--over 900 pages (but  the Index and Appendix are 250+ pages) but it was such a worthwhile read that I'm now going to purchase the book in hardcover.  While I don't necessarily agree with all his opinions or suppositions, I think things were presented rationally and in an interesting manner.  As in life, things are not necessarily all black or white but in varying shades of gray.I appreciated many things about Mr. Solomon's writings--he didn't preach or demean his interviewees or his readers;   I really enjoyed the many excerpts of interviews--the HUMAN element of each chapter;  how moving, inspiring and thought-provoking the stories were; and finally the long-term commitment Mr. Solomon made to this book.  I want my own copy of his book so I can highlight those passages that really resonated with  me.  I think that my daughter (who is in the midst of child-bearing age) and my son (who has Bipolar Disorder) to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    One of The Best Book I Have Read

    I honestly think that we can all supersede the meager expectations people have from us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    Although huge, it is so worth the read. Very interesting!

    I'm sorry i was so busy reading the book.I forgot to rate my purchase, my bad. First time I ever took advantage of a deal online. I did, it worked and I love how quickly, in time, in great condition and WHAT a great deal it turned out to be. I would and probably will do it again. Thank you for turning my doubt into a wonderful experience. One can still get something fabulous for less otherwise. Thanks for allowing me a great present to myself that turned out to be guilt-free!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

    V

    TreeClan territory.

    Barkstar

    0 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
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