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

Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity Audiobook, by Andrew Solomon Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Andrew Solomon Narrator: Andrew Solomon Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2012 ISBN: 9781442356108
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Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity is the autobiography by National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize nominee Andrew Solomon.

A lucid and truly creative mind, Solomon's path started with his experiences of being gay in a straight family. He didn't know how other parents could provide for their kids who have a number of marks that make them different: a family of deaf kids, dwarves, Down-syndrome, autistic, schizophrenic, and other severely disabled, those who are a prodigy, who commit a crime, and who are transgender too. This begins with his experience as a son, and ends with his journey as a dad, but throughout it tries to unravel how despite our differences, we aren't so unlike our parents, or others half way across the globe.

Many find this book remarkably brave in the questions it asks and in the answers it hopes to uncover.

Divided into twelve poignant sections, Solomon relates the stories of people who are victimized in tragic ways because of the world's prejudices, but he also tells the readers about the families who surround their kids with love despite those differences and who try to alter the world-view of being different with difficult circumstances. He eloquently, humbly, and lovingly speaks for the folks who have no voice in this world. This moving angle that he shows us about a serious social issue provides a conclusion that can stretch to any family or cultural view and will help academics and politicians as well as the commoner to address the issue of illness and self-identity.

Solomon, born in 1963, writes on numerous socio-political-cultural issues.

From the National Book Award-winning author of the “brave…deeply humane…open-minded, critically informed, and poetic” (The New York Times) The Noonday Demon, comes a game-changer of a book about the impact of extreme personal and cultural difference between parents and children.

A brilliant and utterly original thinker, Andrew Solomon’s journey began from his experience of being the gay child of straight parents. He wondered how other families accommodate children who have a variety of differences: families of people who are deaf, who are dwarfs, who have Down syndrome, who have autism, who have schizophrenia, who have multiple severe disabilities, who are prodigies, who commit crimes, who are transgender. Bookended with Solomon’s experiences as a son, and then later as a father, this book explores the old adage that says the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; instead some apples fall a couple of orchards away, some on the other side of the world.
     In twelve sharply observed and moving chapters, Solomon describes individuals who have been heartbreaking victims of intense prejudice, but also stories of parents who have embraced their childrens’ differences and tried to change the world’s understanding of their conditions. Solomon’s humanity, eloquence, and compassion give a voice to those people who are never heard. A riveting, powerful take on a major social issue, Far from the Tree offers far-reaching conclusions about new families, academia, and the way our culture addresses issues of illness and identity. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “In Far from the Tree, 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 across America—many in circumstances the rest of us can hardly imagine—who are making their children feel special, no matter what challenges come their way.”

    Bill Clinton

  • “This is 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, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies

  • “Far-reaching, original, fascinating—Andrew Solomon’s investigation of many of the most intense challenges that parenthood can bring compels us all to reexamine 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, National Book Critics Circle Award–winning author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families

  • “Andrew Solomon has written 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, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • Far from the Tree is a landmark, revolutionary book. It frames an area of inquiry—difference between parents and children—that many of us have experienced in our own lives without ever considering it as a phenomenon. 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, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

  • “Solomon, a highly original student of human behavior, has written an intellectual history that lays the foundation for a twenty-first century Psychological Bill of Rights. In addition to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on the basis of race and religion, this Bill extends inalienable rights of psychological acceptance to people on the basis of their identity. He provides us with an unrivalled educational experience about identity groups in our society, an experience that is filled with insight, empathy, and intelligence. We also discover the redefining, self-restructuring nature that caring for a child produces in parents, no matter how unusual or disabled the child is. Reading Far from the Tree is a mind-opening experience.”

    Eric Kandel, author of The Age of Insight and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

  • Far from the Tree is fundamentally about the bonds and burdens of family, and it’s a huge valentine to those who embrace the challenge of raising children who are in some way not what they had hoped for.”


  • “Profoundly moving…Solomon’s own trials of feeling marginalized as gay, dyslexic, and depressive, while still yearning to be a father, frame these affectingly rendered real tales about bravely playing the cards one’s dealt.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Years of interviews with families and their unique children culminate in this compassionate compendium…The truth Solomon writes about here is as poignant as it is implacable, and he leaves us with a reinvented notion of identity and individual value.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “An informative and moving book that raises profound issues regarding the nature of love, the value of human life, and the future of humanity.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Ruminative, personal, and reportorial all at once.”, editorial review

  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A 2012 Barnes & Noble Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2012 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Nonfiction
  • Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”: November 2012
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2012
  • A 2012 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
  • Winner of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 2013 Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize for Nonfiction
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction, 2012
  • A 2013 Lambda Literary Award Finalist for LGBT Nonfiction

Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Trista | 1/29/2014

    " Well it is apparent that I will never actually read this whole book because it is VERY long. It is an interesting idea though and I did enjoy the first few chapters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie | 1/24/2014

    " Excellent, excellent, excellent! Truly deserving of every praise that it has gotten. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 1/23/2014

    " Life-changing, perspective-altering, better-person-making. This book is a gift. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marcia | 1/3/2014

    " Wow. An epic (900+pages) review of many ways in which children can indeed fall far from the tree, requiring parents to dig much deeper to figure out how to parent them. Each chapter focuses on a different way in which children can be substantially different from their parents, either physically or psychologically. The chapters are riddled with interesting case studies from Solomon's hundreds of interviews, plus a lot of background info on the particular difference that chapter features. But the point of it all is to explore how parents try (or in some cases don't) to rise to the occasion of being the best parent possible to someone whose experience of life is beyond their own. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marge | 1/3/2014

    " The writing of this book is an unbelievable accomplishment. The author has done a deep study on many ways a person may exist, whether it was genetic or an environmental affliction, that differs from what is considered normal and what a parent might expect their child to be like. Depending on the topic and how it has impacted my life, I found some studies much more to my liking than others. The chapters covered autistic, deaf, dwarfs, transgender and other states of being. Such topics as genetic designer children and do we want a child like ourself, even if we are born with what is considered a disability, are questions that we all should find of interest. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pam | 12/30/2013

    " This book was just all over the place. It lacked focus and a unifying "theme". It started out with a strong premise, but that premise was lost as the chapters unfolded. I did find the case studies interesting from a psychological/medical perspective, but I feel that the author tried to put too much of his years of research and interviews in the book and ended up with a big mess. I was really expecting some wonderful "out of the box" thinking about identity and diversity, but sadly all I really got was a "hot mess." 2 stars - It was OK (and only because of the case studies. 1 star if I'm rating it based on what the book purports to deliver). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 12/25/2013

    " Wow -- total masterpiece. Brilliant and thoughtful, if overwhelming in scope. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jean | 12/14/2013

    " Thought-provoking and sometimes heart-rending. It makes a person wonder: "how would I handle this situation?" and "what makes a family?" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elisabeth | 11/26/2013

    " A really interesting read. The depth of information and experiences is immense. I was really struck by the common feelings and thought concepts among the families profiled even though their experiences are so varied. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine | 11/19/2013

    " Fascinating and terrifying. What is important: perfection, diversity, health, quality of life and what does that mean? What we choose from the list above makes us a certain person but also unable to make those choices unless faced with the experiences such as those described in this amazing tome. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 11/12/2013

    " Excellent read. I highly recommend this book and thought the last chapter was a perfect summary of true parental feelings. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 MaryLiz | 11/2/2013

    " By no means a quick read, but one of the most compelling books I have ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 7/14/2013

    " So glad to be done with this one. Couldn't the author have said this in a more compact way? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cori | 7/10/2013

    " A brilliantly written book that presents identities in a very, very interesting manner. Very informative and I believe this book truly enlightened my already tolerant and compassionate heart. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lenore | 6/15/2013

    " A must-read for anyone who wants to understand what it means to have a special child - disability or superability. Well researched, well written - an important book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 3/30/2013

    " Would have given it 5 stars if it weren't so bloody long! A fascinating, compelling, touching read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 3/14/2013

    " A big book that deals with social views, family, unconditional love, and "what is normal". Loved it! Somewhat textbook like, but filled with personal stories...reads fast. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erin | 12/28/2012

    " The premise of this book was interesting, but the execution didn't deliver. "

About the Author

Andrew Solomon is the New York Times bestselling author of Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, and The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of fourteen national awards, including the National Book Award. He is a lecturer in psychiatry at Cornell University and special advisor on LGBT affairs to the Yale School of Medicine’s department of psychiatry.