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Customer Review

263 of 274 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and well-researched, November 20, 2012
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This review is from: Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity (Hardcover)
Far From the Tree is a TOME. I mean, it's a great big, heavy book in every sense of the word. To be honest, I was a little intimidated when my copy arrived! I didn't read it cover to cover, but started with the autism chapter because it was relevant to our family. I found it to be a very well-researched, sensitive look at how autism can affect a parent's life, hopes, and perceptions.

That chapter was so good, I moved to the crime chapter and stayed up way too late because I could not put it down. Thank you, Mr. Solomon for pointing out the absurdities in our justice system when it comes to dealing with juvenile crime. (And as for the reviewer who questioned including crime at all, this book focuses on any possible way that a child can turn out different than their parents expected, and being guilty of a crime definitely seems appropriate to me.) I learned a lot from this chapter, and was particularly fascinated by the Klebolds' story. Once again, Soloman wrote with sensitivity about a very difficult and controversial topic.

From there I read the chapter on dwarfism, and then finally turned to the first pages of the book and started reading the beginning! I wanted to learn about how families deal with a diagnosis of autism; instead I learned about how families deal with all kinds of unexpected outcomes, how resilient parents can be when faced with hardships, and how connected are the identities of parents and their children. As a parent, I understand the constant struggle to balance who we want our children to be and who they actually are. "There is no such thing as reproduction" may be my new mantra.

One more thing: in 700 pages (okay, I admit, I didn't read the Acknowledgments) I never found an example of "martyrdom" that one reviewer complained about. The book relates honest responses from parents in the trenches. Parenting isn't always fun, even for parents of kids who have no extra challenges. But Far From the Tree isn't a chronicle of long-suffering devastated parents; there are plenty of positive, hopeful, make-the-best-of-it moments as well.

It's a fascinating book for anyone interested in parenting, psychology, or the history of disability. Highly recommended.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 12, 2014 7:50:42 PM PDT
Sam L says:
Thank you for your excellent review! I'm not a parent and I'm interested....

Posted on Feb 29, 2016 5:05:39 PM PST
On page 586, Solomon says: "A peculiar arrogance accrues to people who cannot recognize the diversity of human impulses, and who feel superior because they do not lapse into behaviors that don't tempt them in the first place. People disgusted by sexual predators say smugly that they don't pursue the sexual favors of children, without acknowledging that they don't find children sexually attractive." I can only surmise by this sequence being left in the book that the editor at Scribner has humanity for child rapists, not judgment. I have heard of blaming women for being raped but I have never, ever heard of blaming children. Should this pedophilia apologist be praised for page 586's accusations of smugness and arrogance against those who have never stooped to sexual offense?
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