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Far From the Tree

Far From the Tree

Parents, Children and the Search for Identity

  • reading group guide
  • bestseller
  • freshman reading
A Scribner Classics edition of Andrew Solomon’s bestselling masterpiece, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Dayton Peace Prize, and one of The New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of 2012—“a brave, beautiful book that will expand your humanity” (People).

Andrew Solomon’s startling proposition in Far From the Tree is that being exceptional is at the core of the human condition—that difference is what unites us. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, or multiple severe disabilities; with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, and Solomon documents triumphs of love over prejudice in every chapter.

All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent should parents accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves. Drawing on ten years of research and interviews with more than three hundred families, Solomon mines the eloquence of ordinary people facing extreme challenges.

Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original and compassionate thinker, Far From the Tree explores how people who love each other must struggle to accept each other—a theme in every family’s life. The New York Times calls it a “wise and beautiful” volume, that “will shake up your preconceptions and leave you in a better place.”
  • Scribner | 
  • 976 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476773063 | 
  • September 2014
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List Price $40.00
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Video

Andrew Solomon discusses his audiobook FAR FROM THE TREE

“A brave, beautiful book that will expand your humanity” (People) shows what we all can learn from ordinary parents dealing with exceptional children.

Read an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Far from the Tree includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and ideas for teachers. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

Winner of a 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award, Andrew Solomon’s Far from the Tree tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so. He 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. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, and Solomon documents triumphs of love over prejudice in every chapter. Life for the parents in this book turns on a crucial question: to what extent should they accept their children as they are, and to what extent should they help them become their best selves? When, then, is their child’s condition an illness to be cured, and when is it an identity to be celebrated?

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. In Far from the Tree, Andre see more

More Books from this Author

About the Author

Andrew Solomon
Photo Credit: © Annie Leibovitz

Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the 2001 National Book Award; and of the critically acclaimed novel A Stone Boat. He is a lecturer in psychiatry at Cornell University and Special Advisor on LGBT affairs to the Yale University’s Department of Psychiatry.

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