Saturday’s Book: Far From the Tree” by Solomon – Halfway Comment

Not your regular tree
Not your regular tree (Naomi’s pictures)

The full title is “Far from the tree, parents, children and the search for identity”. What is it like to be parents of that child, that apple, that DID fall far from the tree?

I decided not to wait till I finish the book to write some more about it. In hardcover it’s almost a 1,000 pages long. I’m listening to it on my Ipod (almost 41 hours!) otherwise I never would have had time to read more than half. I’ve mentioned the book in previous posts as I have been listening for a while.

This is one of the most fascinating non-fiction books I have ever read. Actually, I think listening to it read by the author really adds to the experience. The author interviewed a large number of people (mainly parents) over a long period of time, and I feel that he is sharing his experience this way.

The book is very cleverly written (and I really like the title!). Although each chapter does follow a general format of a combination of interviews and information (both historical, medical and the related activism) about the “uniqueness” being discussed in that chapter, Solomon manages to present things differently each chapter. He also highlights common themes and connects new information with things previously discussed.

It’s a very American book. There are a few interviews from other places but basically it all takes place in the US. Especially regarding the chapters I know more about, Deafness and Schizophrenia (my husband is a psychologist, I was discussing it with him) I sometimes wanted to tell the author – it’s not like that (or so much like that) here! Some of the issues of activism presented are harder for me to relate to, especially those fighting for the right of adults who are seriously psychotic to starve themselves to death while living in horrible neglect because they didn’t ask to get treatment…

I find the book powerful and moving. I had originally thought I would listen to part, then listen to something else and go back to it. It sounded like the book would be too much to deal with at once.

I won’t stop until I’m done!


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