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Gratitude for Every Child

Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, by Andrew Solomon. New York: Scribner, 2012.

by Janice D’Arcy

… Just as we head into the holiday frenzy, we have been delivered a bracing reminder of why gratitude is essential in parenting. Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, (Scribner) is by National Book Award winner Andrew Solomon. He explores the relationships between parents and children who are vastly different from one another, or depart from our general sense of normalcy.

Why did you choose these particular families?

I ended up writing about roughly half of the families I interviewed, and I chose the ones whose stories I had found most moving, trying not to tell the stories of multiple families with near-identical experiences.  I also tried to select for people who were willing and able to be fully honest about their experience. But almost every story I came across was moving, and almost everyone was trying to reveal truths to me.  

I tend to write about people I like or admire, rather than about people I want to criticize, and so I sought out people about whom I could write accurately and also positively. We all know that there are people who neglect and abuse disabled children; that’s not news. I thought the news was how many people end up loving children they’d have thought, in the abstract, that they couldn’t love.  

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