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Unique Children Find Own Kinship

by Dr. Andrew Hall

It is a fear common to all parents — your child is different. Not simply different from other kids at the same age and stage, but also different from you in mystifying, heart-breaking and often infuriating ways.

Although parents often wish to have children who exhibit only their very best tendencies and family traits, New York author and journalist Andrew Solomon is interested in exactly the opposite. His lengthy yet accessible work for parents, educators and activists alike is both formidably academic and deeply personal, as Solomon reflects upon the phenomenon of children who are profoundly and distinctively different from their parents.

Counting himself among the legion of children to have caused this universal familial burden, Solomon notes wryly, “these children are apples that have fallen elsewhere.”

In what comes across at times like a personal crusade, Solomon spent more than a decade interviewing and studying the commonalities between seemingly unique groups of diverse individuals. This after his 2001 memoir of depression, The Noonday Demon, won the U.S. National Book Award.

…What distinguishes this book from the scores of shallow and trite self-help books that clog the bestseller lists is its patient attention to both the academic literature and the daily experiences of appealing case studies.

There are enough detailed footnotes and comprehensive bibliography to satisfy those well-versed in the healing professions, and yet lots of engaging stories and insightful insights about the small joys and large heartbreaks of living life as exceptional within family units that range from completely supportive to utterly rejecting.

(To read the full review, please visit the Winnipeg Free Press website.)