At the beginning of Far From the Tree, Andrew Solomon’s opus that explores the challenges of parenthood, he rejects the word “reproduction”. We don’t merge ourselves with a partner to create offspring, he notes, we simply produce. That’s why we so rarely see the mirror of ourselves that we might — often misguidedly — hope for in our children. What discombobulates is that difference.
Solomon, a journalist based in New York, has devoted a decade to this tome (some 700 pages, plus another 200 or so of references) and interviewed more than 300 families. His fascination lies in the relationships where the parent finds a child most alien, although he cautions against using the word “exceptional” of anyone, as “to be entirely typical is the rare and lonely state”.
(To read the rest of the review, please visit the Evening Standard website.)