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How Andrew Solomon’s memoir of coming out became a completely different story


Sundance Selects and Participant Media present Far from the Tree: A Film by Rachel Dretzin. Opening in theaters and VOD July 20, 2018.

By Michael O’Sullivan

Andrew Solomon, already the author of an acclaimed memoir about his journey through depression (The Noonday Demon), says he began his subsequent book as a way to understand his struggle to gain his family’s acceptance after coming out. But when Solomon started to interview other families who had struggled to accept children profoundly unlike them — children with schizophrenia, deafness and other conditions that challenge the boundaries of unconditional love — he decided to write a very different book, Far From the Tree.

That 2012 bestseller is now a documentary by the Emmy Award-winning director Rachel Dretzin. In addition to featuring Solomon’s personal story and some other material from the book, the film introduces several new subjects: Leah Smith and Joe Stamondo, a married couple with dwarfism; the family of an autistic child; a man with Down syndrome and his parents; and the Reeses, whose son Trevor slit the throat of an 8-year-old boy, when he was 16. Solomon, who also produced the new film, sat down with Dretzin to talk about its provocative message.

(To read the full interview, please visit The Washington Post.)