[Download] Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity By Andrew Solomon

Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity

By: Andrew Solomon
Narrated by: Andrew Solomon
Length: 40 hours
Release date: Nov 13, 2012
Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (185 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)

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From the National Book Award-winning author of the "brave…deeply humane...open-minded, critically informed, and poetic" (The New York Times) The Noonday Demon, comes a game-changer of a book about the impact of extreme personal and cultural difference between parents and children.

A brilliant and utterly original thinker, Andrew Solomon's journey began from his experience of being the gay child of straight parents. He wondered how other families accommodate children who have a variety of differences: families of people who are deaf, who are dwarfs, who have Down syndrome, who have autism, who have schizophrenia, who have multiple severe disabilities, who are prodigies, who commit crimes, who are transgender. Bookended with Solomon's experiences as a son, and then later as a father, this book explores the old adage that says the apple doesn't fall far from the tree; instead some apples fall a couple of orchards away, some on the other side of the world.

In twelve sharply observed and moving chapters, Solomon describes individuals who have been heartbreaking victims of intense prejudice, but also stories of parents who have embraced their childrens' differences and tried to change the world's understanding of their conditions. Solomon's humanity, eloquence, and compassion give a voice to those people who are never heard. A riveting, powerful take on a major social issue, Far from the Tree offers far-reaching conclusions about new families, academia, and the way our culture addresses issues of illness and identity.

A Simon & Schuster audio production.

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67 Responses to “[Download] Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity By Andrew Solomon”

  1. Carmina Nicoson

    This is the best book I’ve ever read!
    The social commentary provided by Andrew Solomon is quite profound. The stories contained came alive and personalized the, sometimes, nebulous social situations contained within society. This is an opus that is ever so helpful, especially for those in the helping professions, but for all of humanity.

  2. Teddy Bowey

    it took a few chapters to embrace but by the end I want to reread. thought provoking and illuminating.

  3. Dollie Watterson

    I had to give up and order the “actual” book
    What did you like best about Far from the Tree? What did you like least?

  4. Syble Destiche

    Any additional comments?

  5. Angelina Pusateri

    Years of interviews in one book.
    I bought this book immediately after watching a TED talk the Author did. If you see the talk, it is easy to gauge the tone of the book and Andrew Solomon’s exhaustive research and empathy for the people it is about.
    This is not an easy read, children suffering incurable mental and physical illnesses and the exhaustive work of there parents sometimes with no hope of any light at the end of the tunnel is what your in for. Be warned

    I was interested in this book, because my 2year old son was born with TAPVR, and was in need of immediate emergency by-pass surgery at birth, to the complete surprise of my wife and I. He is a very happy and healthy boy now and will have a complete and full life the same as any healthy child.
    Many of the parents at the hospital we go to for his check ups have children that are no where near as lucky. It is with the realization that these are normal people whom have had a tremendous burden and responsibility placed on them and are doing the best they can with love and strength, There greatest worry is whom will help care for my child when I die?

    I would not recommend this book to anyone who is pregnant, it will fill you with unneeded worry about the healthy birth of your child, do not buy this book.

    Otherwise it is a great book (indeed it could of been many books) Andrew Solomon is a fantastic writer and thankfully he narrates the book himself, a man of amazing empathy, taking on a subject that society would rather did not exist.

  6. Shannon Schoeller

    A remarkable work
    Would you consider the audio edition of Far from the Tree to be better than the print version?

  7. Felicitas P.

    A very interesting book
    The book was long, but really interesting – I would easily have listened to 46 more hours of this. Highly recommended.

  8. Antione Scioneaux

    A truly wonderful book
    Where does Far from the Tree rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

  9. Monty Ines

    An Exceptional Book
    Highly recommended​. An outstanding study of the human condition. . . It will expand your world view.

  10. Samira Berga

    exceptional storytelling
    i am child psychiatrist and this book helped me understand my patients and myself, in a way that i haven’t experienced with my training and work.

  11. Gretta Govea

    Loved this book!
    Very moving and illuminating! Made me think more deeply about thing I had never fully considered.

  12. Kieth Kimbler

    Touched my heart and challenged my mind.
    An unforgettable book.

    As the parent of a severely disabled child, I knew I would identify with some of the chapters. What surprised me was the commonality between many of the parents of these diverse offspring. The author’s commitment to these people over many years is astonishing, and I’ll always be thankful for it.

  13. Nestor J.

    I had recognized Andrew Solomon from his Ted Talks and decided I should listen to his audiobook. I wasn’t prepared for all of the emotions and sparks of recognition in my own family. The chapter about autism within who’s families I saw reflections of the relationship between my mother, my brother and myself . It reinforces the suspicion we all have had that our family “isn’t normal” while also bringing forward a feeling of community and connection. This book chronicles the lives of so many interesting and beautiful people so intimately that you come out of each story with a deeper compassion for not only friends and family, but strangers on the street when you realize that they may be living a life next door to you that you would never be able to imagine. I frequently found myself in tears on the bus or in laundry mats listening to this book. I cannot recommend it enough.

  14. Sandy Shatt

    Walk a mile in many different shoes…
    Be ready to learn a lot as this book was written by interview after interview with people who are different or parents of children who are different or both. It is not written to be entertaining, at least in my view, it was written to teach and teach me it did, in abundance. Amazing perspectives if you are open-minded enough to put yourself in someone elses shoes as you read and not judge.

  15. Jason Pech

    extraordinary, thank goodness it’s on service!
    a beautiful and extraordinary accomplishment. Clearly written by a well respected journalist, ten years of research produced a book that should be read by everyone. Its significance is is obvious, and while it takes a commitment of time to read it, it has changed the way I view my life. Because this book is massive in scope and size, having the opportunity to listen to it made it possible for me to fit it in to my busy life

  16. Yong Kleinmann

    this book changed the way I think about everything
    this may be the most life changing book I’ve ever read. it made me reconsider all the assumptions and fragile mental constructs id made to separate myself from the uncomfortable. I struggled for a long time between wanting to have children, fearing I would harm them more than support them as I felt mine had done, and being extremely terrified that I would produce non-neuraltypical children such as myself. I didn’t think I had the capacity to support a child with needs more than the “typical” child. this book helped assure me that, if the occasion arose, I would find it in myself to care for such a child. this book has made me more compassionate, accepting, and supportive of people around me who before made me uncomfortable or embarrassed for them. listen to this book. it will make you a better person, and maybe a more loving parent.

    the author and narrator is amazing. it is long, but it is long for a reason. I loved every minute of it. everyone, parent or not, normally abled or disabled, should listen to it.

  17. Santo Kunkle

    Far from the tree
    This book has turned me into a big fan of Andrew Solomon. some parts of it were hard to get through for emotional reasons. The part about children conceived in rape should have a trigger warning. I do think that the hard parts are worth reading. It is hard to describe why it’s so good. Part of it is that it offers insight into lives of people you likely don’t understand. It is thought provoking and mind opening. I want to learn writing from Andrew Solomon and I want to be his friend.

  18. Mallory Mcfetridge

    Brilliant. Insightful. Moving.
    I was deeply moved by the many stories Andrew shared in this exhaustive book. I have recommended it to many people with special needs children; it is balanced, clear and informative

  19. Vicki Calpin

    Explanation of so much re: non-typical conditions
    A friend whom I trust recommended this tome, and tome it is! But so worth reading. I enjoyed listening to it, even though it was 40 hours plus! It is read by the author, a person who will never make a living as a voice…but it was excellent to hear him put the emphasis where, as an author, he wanted it to be.

    My biggest take-away from the book is that we each rise to the task at hand and deal with what we need to deal with.

  20. Anneliese Ridner

    Gave up after hours our vaccuous preamble
    Maybe this is a good book, but we just became too impatient with the first part to find out. We started listening to it on a long drive; but after two or three hours we gave up on it because we just got bored with a seemingly interminable preamble in which the author vaguely indicates what is to come but talks much of the time in bland generalities.

  21. Maire Terronez

    Once again, he has written about something that deeply touches my life. First came The Noonday Demon in which he thoroughly catalogs many aspects of my illness, depression, in such a loving and human way as to shame other books on the topic for being brusque and unfeeling. Now he writes about family and individual dynamics between children and adults. I may require my daughters to read this book before middle or high school to help teach about being a human being in society without being a jerk about it.

    Mr. Solomon, once again, thank you.

  22. Bettie Gladwell

    incredible book, incredibly long and so worth it. I learned so, so much. you will too

  23. Cynthia

    Parenting a Different Child/Astounding Book
    The morning of December 14, 2012, I had a long drive and intermittent NPR stations, so I continued to listen to “Far From the Tree”. The printed book is 702 pages long, and it’s about 40 service hours. I was on Chapter X, Crime.

    The book is beautifully narrated, and author/narrator Andrew Solomon’s pronounciation of difficult terms is flawless. Even so, it’s a difficult listen.

    I have often wished that service had a true Table of Contents, and never more than with this book. The chapters are (with thanks to service print) I. Son; II.Deaf III. Dwarfs IV. Downs Syndrome V. Autism VI. Schizophrenia VII. Disabilities VIII. Prodigies IX. Rape X. Crime XI. Transgender XII. Father.

    Each section could, on its own, be a separate book – with the exception of I. Son and XII. Father – combine those two, and those would make a book.

    Dwight Garner and Julie Meyer, writing separate reviews for the New York Times in November, love the book unreservedly. After listening to “Columbine”, I was thinking of using a credit for this new book. I purchased “Far From the Tree” right after reading Meyer’s rhapsodic review.

    I am the mother of two teenagers who would not be in any of Solomon’s chapters, but each and every section made me ache with my love for them. The challenges of normal teenagers, with raging hormones, lightning fast mood changes, and their sudden bursts of astounding clarity pale in comparison to what Solomon’s families face. I am a better parent to them knowing that they are ‘normal’.

    I’m not a physician, sociologist or therapist – I’m just a Mom. I gained real confidence in trying my best to be a good Mom from this book. It was the best ‘parenting’ book I’ve read since “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Muroff and Sharon Mazel. The books are entirely different, but reading them has the same effect. I am more (not less) confident about my mothering because of these books.

    Which brings me back to December 14, 2012, the day of the Newtown/Sandy Hook mass murder. I have been wondering since then whether Sue Klebold, if given the choice, would have rather have been in Nancy Lanza’s position – killed before she knew what her son did. I suspect not, and I hope Solomon can answer the queston for us.

    [If you found this review helpful, please let me know by clicking the helpful button.]

  24. Dwayne Bachhuber

    Fascinating stories of parenting special kids
    Would you consider the audio edition of Far from the Tree to be better than the print version?

  25. Cary Dimuzio

    If every person in America read this book thoughtfully, we would see far reaching positive repercussions. Solomon delves into hundreds of lives and describes how they manage the lot they were given. He knew each family personally for years as he compiled the book. It is a long book, but the quickest way to appreciate the human experience, central to which is parenting.

  26. O. Oye

    Terrible, self indulgent book
    What disappointed you about Far from the Tree?

  27. Yajaira Discala

    All But Criminality
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

  28. Sydney Salim

    Amazing book
    I want to buy this as a gift for everyone I know. Really great book.

  29. Donnell W.

    Content that will make you grow
    Would you listen to Far from the Tree again? Why?

  30. Abdul Russotti

    A Masterpiece!
    “Far from the Tree” is so much more than promised by the title. It consists of twelve distinct, fascinating and perspective-changing chapters that weave into a cohesive story of love and resilience. The author performs flawlessly, not so much because he is a professional narrator, but because this story is told from his heart.

    Before listening to this book I questioned whether or not I would be able to sustain interest for 40 hours, but as soon as it started I was hooked. Hours flew by like minutes and I devoured this book until the very end.

  31. Noble Tecuanhuey

    Excellent content, unbearably narration
    This book was incredibly well researched and written and the content and personal stories were both fascinating and captivating. Unfortunately, the performance by the author made the listening experience painful. His monotone delivery and pretentious annunciations would have been difficult for a standard length book, but trying to get through over 40 hours of this was a challenge. I was torn between wanting to finish the book and cringing at the sound of his voice so much that quitting sounded like a better idea. In the end I preserved and am grateful for the decision. I would suggest reading, as opposed to listening if time allows you to do so.

  32. Lamar Gallob

    Expands your thinking
    Brought clarity to subjects foreign to me. Gender identity, dwarfism, deaf culture to name a few. Soloman’s writing is authentic, insightful and artistic. Always a joy.

  33. Nolan Valenzano

    Thank You Andrew Solomon
    What did you love best about Far from the Tree?

  34. Tod F.

    Good, But It Could Have Been Great
    I learned a lot about disabled children and their parents. Much of it was very heartwarming. The book presented wonderful life lessons in love, acceptance, and struggling against the odds.

    However, it could have been a stronger book it if had been edited down. Many of the examples were repetitive (for instance, showing many different families similarly affected by schizophrenia), and there were entire chapters that didn’t seem to fit within the topic of the book (for instance, children conceived from rape). It was as if the author felt compelled to use every bit of research he’d done, and no one at the publishing house stopped him.

    Also, sometimes the author didn’t allow much room for alternate viewpoints.For instance, the idea that it is beneficial for children to change their genders if they desire, no matter their age, was accepted with little argument.

    That said, the book was emotionally affecting and I know that much of what I learned about people in difficult circumstances will stay with me a long time.

  35. Donnie Klemp

    Unto the third generation….
    As a rule I have found books narrated by their author a dismal failure, but, with his deep, easy to understand reading, Mr. Solomon did a wonderful job in bringing his book life. I gave five stars to his ” Performance “.
    In a series of interviews with the parents and often the ” different ” children themselves, we are given an inside view of the hardships and the joys of the bearing and rearing of children that are different , often in very profound ways, from their parents, their siblings and society’s accepted norm.
    By quoting the parents we hear the honest, compassionate, fearful, optimistic, angry and questioning voices of mothers and fathers as they review their lives since becoming the parents of disabled children. The child’s disability can be profound and clearly visible to the outside world or almost undetectable on casual observation. But, no matter the situation the child and the parents have often been ignored and pushed aside by the medical professionals they seek help from and have had to forge their own paths to help their child.
    Mr. Solomon shows great sensitivity while exposing the wounds caused prejudice and fear and does this without undo attention to the negative. I was often impressed by his bringing to light the love, devotion and blessings brought about by the presence of these children. I am a great believer in the sanctity of life and the fact that those in need of our care are here not only for their soul’s benefit but also for the soul’s benefit and blessing of those that serve and care for them. I also hold that the presence of these children effects a family for many generations.
    This book kept my interest and, as a parent myself, tugged at my heart strings.
    I gave four stars to the book overall because it seemed to end without an end. I did not expect a profound resolution to any of the difficulties presented or any happy ever after tales of love conquering all, but, somehow, and I really don’t know how to explain how, the book just seemed to ‘peter out’. However, it is a book I will listen to again knowing I will enjoy the presentation and learn much from the content. It is worth one’s time.

  36. Zonia Jugan

    40 Hours Well Spent
    What did you love best about Far from the Tree?

  37. Karin Drowne

    Far from the Tree is really an incredible book for parents, teachers, and really everyone. Beautiful and fairly written, I felt connected to every chapter. A must read!!

  38. Margret Kuick

    Insightful and Engaging
    I originally read the hard copy and, while I enjoyed it–my life doesn’t provide a lot of uninterrupted reading time so my experience with it was somewhat disjointed.

    Hearing it read by the author was a joy. It is non-fiction that reads like fiction. This book is engaging for parents and non-parents alike. It left me longing for an opportunity to share a pot of tea with Mr. Solomon to ask all the follow-up questions the text sparked in me. Thank you!

  39. Lazaro Clack

    Far From the Tree is just the Best!!
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

  40. JOHE

    it was a life experience
    I experienced great growth as a person, I won’t be or see people the same way again, it’s been an eye opening experience, in which self acceptance took part and the understanding of love went deeper wider challenging Me to a better self,ñ. thanks Andrew.

  41. Steven

    A long book that covers a lot
    A very interest look at a lot of different situations. Hard to get through at times but insightful and I’m glad I listened to the end

  42. Marylee Connley

    Solomon should let others narrate his work. His voice is too monotonous. Fantastic writer. Needs to work on narration

  43. Tasia Cohan

    A Masterpiece
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

  44. Chelsey Watts

    Insightful Look into Identity and Our Roots
    Loved this book!! Such amazing stories of different groups of people, parents and children. Stories of how we define who we are and how we find a meaningful existence. Andrew shares perspectives that have broadened my view of humanity.

  45. Rhona Dewiel

    sad but good
    If you could sum up Far from the Tree in three words, what would they be?

  46. Christen S.

    Loved it!
    What an epic story of love, hope, despair, and the human capability for resilience. I loved every chapter and enjoyed the countless stories. It was difficult at first keeping track of the different people, though I soon learned to just listen and understand what was being said. Once I did that it was easy to enjoy. What a great journey! Thank you Solomon!

  47. Kermit Schoemaker

    absolutely insightful and inspiring
    Solomons way of connecting with the families he interviews and his comparisons between social norm and acceptance is a compelling read.

  48. Loris Stoffa

    Fascinating and Interesting
    I enjoyed the overall book. I liked the many different stories and narratives shared. The author has a talent for descriptive words and phrases.

    I would like to have heard more parents perspective in the stories of those not naturally afflicted. Meaning it was a choice of what they were doing and not a result of birth etc.

    The author did a great job narrating the story as well.

    I have already recommended it to several friends.

  49. Walter Lindroth

    Gloriously beautiful and heartbreaking
    I loved this book so much. It’s one of the only books where I said, ‘oh darn, there’s only 13 hours of this book left!!’.

    Read beautifully by the author, it’s written so well, encompassing a massive range of parental experiences. He has genuine compassion and empathy for these parents and their children. It’s a deeply moving and humbling book. JUST GET IT.

  50. Shelton B.

    un viaje increíble!! super recomendado
    como madre de un niño con lesión cerebral este libro sacudió cada fibra dentro de mi. Un trabajo magnífico de investigación donde Andrew nos lleva por todos los extraños mundos de lo “anormal” en nuestra sociedad y reivindica la autonomía y el valor de todos los niños y jóvenes diferentes. Veo a mi hijo y a los niños con los quien trabajo con otros ojos y me siento orgullosa de ser parte de este grupo selecto de padres quiénes vemos la belleza de lo imperfecto y amamos el reto de estas vidas. Gracias Andrew por recordarle al mundo la dignidad de todos los seres humanos!

  51. Euna Criton

    Beautiful, thought provoking, and insightful
    This book is wonderful in every respect — well written, researched, and organized; read beautifully by the author; engaging and insightful. Going into it I was not sure I would want to listen for so many hours, and thought I would skip certain chapters less relevant to my life. Instead I listened intently to every word, and I am so glad I did.

  52. Patsy Nealeigh

    Great stories about differences – but way too long
    This book is filled with wonderful anecdotes and stories about parents coping with children very different from themselves, ranging from severely autistic to criminal to geniuses. However, it is way too long, and the author – who also narrates the book — goes into long discourses on identity which greatly take away from the book’s impact. I finally skipped those sections.

  53. August Duncil

    truly amazing
    This book was truly inspiring, captivating, and beautifully written. Everyone should read this book. I truly believe it made me a more empathetic person.

  54. Horacio Doxey

    Enlightening and eloquent, this book has the ability to transform your understanding of other people – and yourself. I’ve never enjoyed a book quite so much, and the author’s narration is much of the reason. May require tissues.

  55. Rochell Behne

    I learned so much, I want to learn more.
    Andrew Solomon covered so much information in this book, but I wished there was more. The sign of a great scientist, he left me with so many questions: what about the children who aren’t from affluent families? What will happen as these children age?
    The author, as a narrator, was disappointing. I couldn’t help but imagine him standing at a lectern presenting a paper to a large group of students. Instead, I wanted to envision him interacting with those he interviewed.
    His material engaged me. His presentation didn’t. I heartily recommend this book in spite of “the reader”

  56. Lynwood Maccheyne

    Stays with you
    Two years after listening to this, I still think about it all the time. Masterful.

  57. Hipolito Boward

    An incredibly well written and researched book
    Andrew Solomon is the kind of non-fiction writer that is extremely rare these days. He does not set out to force his opinions down your throat nor preach simplified solutions to complex problems. He simply describes the worlds that people with what he refers to as horizontal identities have to deal with and how this world affect those around them. While doing so he devotes chapters to various groups of such identities. A horizontal identity here refers to one not passed down from the parent and can be a physical issues such as deafness, dwarfism, downs syndrome or a social one like criminality. He goes into transgender issues and schizophrenia and you feel listening to it that each of these chapters could have been a book in itself.
    The strength of the book is his ability to relate the stories behind the issues; he has an amazing gift for making the people real and through listening to him you really do share in their struggles and triumphs. He rarely judges them but describes many of the ethical issues parents in particular have to deal with.
    I would highly recommend this book.

  58. Sterling Ladner

    two books about family / both good
    ? does the prospect of parenthood seem daunting to you
    ? do you have strained relations with your parents or children
    ? do you struggle to just understand members of your own family

    andrew solomon has written a vast and well-researched 2 part book for you
    the miles travelled and calories burned, in writing this book, are impressive
    i suspect, it will incentivize other lesser writers to explore this topic

    the 1st book involves dwarfism, autism, deafness, schizophrenia and down’s
    the tone is empathetic and insightful / the emphasis is on fixing the problem
    mr. solomon puts his subjects at ease as he draws out their stories

    the 2nd book involves rape, MSD, crime, prodigies, transgender and father/son
    the tone is a bit caustic and preachy / the emphasis is on fixing the blame
    mr. solomon seems to use his subjects to make his personal point

    overall, the book’s empathy and patience and time invested are impressive
    however, mr. solomon is clear eyed and critical when he needs to be
    especially when risks aren’t assessed and mistakes are made repeatedly

    in the future, i hope the book’s scope may extend beyond our shores
    american medicine is such an outlier compared to other 1st world countries
    we just love invasive surgery, expensive drugs and the latest therapeutic fad

    ? could it be that other, less affluent, cultures have answers for these issues
    ? if the book’s struggles truly are universal, there may be better foreign answers
    i’d be interested to know how the world’s most ancient cultures approach them

    mr. solomon is an operatic, depressed, misunderstood, gay, jewish new yorker
    it’s impressive how often he fits these attributes into his subjects stories
    this tendency is so persistent that it’s almost anthropomorphic

    mr. solomon has written a truly great book that will help many people
    but his own story is not as important as the story of his subjects
    he’s a more than talented writer and, in time, he’ll learn to get out of the way

  59. Jong Traffanstedt

    Will change how you see the world
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

  60. Rich Curington

    It’s extremely well written, extremely well researched, extremely well read, and extremely depressing! The subject matter is a gift to us all, but it’s tough. The author is an historian of sadness, and it comes through.

  61. Patsy Nealeigh

    Beautifully written
    Life triumphs in this very real account of parenting exceptional children. Beautifully written, thoroughly researched.

  62. Garfield Schoon

    So. Long.
    Would you try another book from Andrew Solomon and/or Andrew Solomon?

  63. Kaci H.

    Beautiful beyond my capacity for words
    I have never cried so frequently as in the weeks it took me to finish this, and I’m so glad for it.

  64. Kortney Speidell

    Powerful and Compelling
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

  65. Renea Leshem

    An intellectual and spiritual journey that was so beautifully wrtien. this book should not only be required reading for policy makers, educators, parents, and doctors; but for anyone who wants to grow as a compassionate and open person.

  66. Daniella

    Profound examination of parenting
    Such a beautifully written and moving work. It combines a rich amount of information about a variety of people and identities I was unfamiliar with (I.e. I learned a lot about deafness and deaf culture) and also such amazing family portraits and interviews. The performance was generally clear and well read though occasionally the author’s tone came across as droll or mismatched to either the tone or the accents and intonation of the quotations. I have been recommending this book far and wide and feel like it will stay with me for a long time.

  67. Mammie Okie

    Excellent listen/read, if a little uneven
    Where does Far from the Tree rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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