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Chelsea Frank (Founder / Life and Limb Gel)
I’m reading “Far From The Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity” By: Andrew Solomon and have nearly finished it. It is quite long at nearly 40 hours, and a little depressing at times, but very insightful. When children are born that do not share the same identities with their parents and are considered “different” by being deaf, autistic, transgender, or genius, parents often struggle to relate, connect, and support their child appropriately. On the other hand, perhaps diversity is what unites us. Hundreds of stories of parent-child relationships are presented over his 10 years extensively researching for this book and over 200 pages of citations support his work.
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.
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