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The Meaning and Power of Love

Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (Scribner 2012)

by Sophie Elmhirst

George, aged three, comes into the room. “Hi, George,” says his father the author Andrew Solomon. “Are you going out?” “Yes, I’m going out.” “I hope you have a lovely time. Where are you going?” George ignores the question. “Daddy, are you coming?” “I can’t come right now because I’m doing an interview, but I’ll do something you with you a little later.”

George looks pensive. “OK. Bye, Daddy.” And off he goes.

George appears towards the end of Solomon’s recent book about exceptional children, Far From the Tree. In the final chapter, he recounts his son’s conception and birth, and the journey to parenthood he undertook with his partner, John. As gay men, they had to navigate their way through egg donors and surrogacy, but then, finally, there he was, a baby. “Gay parenting is never accidental, or casual or careless,” Solomon says. “It doesn’t mean it’s always done well, but because it requires so much effort and planning and focus, I don’t think people go into it lightly.”

(To read the full article, please visit the New Statesman.)