Far from the Tree - anyone reading?(4 Posts)
Having read a couple of reviews and articles about Andrew Solomon's book Far from the Tree, I ordered it from the library and am finding it fascinating and absorbing, although it's so dense, long and heavy that I'm having to go to and from work by bus (slower and fewer changes than other routes) to give myself some chunks of reading time. Here's a link to a Guardian review.
I'm particularly interested in his observations on parallels between different conditions, and on how having a disability or life experience that makes us "other" often makes us more tolerant of other people's differences.
I started reading it a few months ago - downloaded the sample onto my Kindle. I, at first, thought it was going to be about nature vs. nurture. (I am always intrigued by writings/treatises/stories about that subject matter since I am one of 4 siblings - 3 female & 1 male. My brother was adopted at 18 months of age, he is three years older than me so I never remember my life without him. He was always my brother & I never thought he was 'different'. But once we were in elementary/primary school and other children started using racial epithets I had to ask my parents. My brother is African American/black & the rest of us are not. I think nowadays it is more commonplace for families to have mixed race families, etc. But in the early 1970s it was not... Anyway, enough of my personal stuff, but that's why I started reading Far From the Tree.)
I did initially find the subject matter very educational, interesting & fascinating.
Then, I felt it was a bit repetitive - he just reiterated the same points over & over again.
I think his points about only realizing how "others" are affected (especially treatment by other people) when it relates to you personally & hits home is valid. Human nature I suppose...
I wish his book editor would have streamlined the book a bit more to collate the points more saliently. I didn't buy it to read more after I read the sample. So maybe after the sample finished, he redeemed himself & the book was amazing
hello Lepidoptera! I'm only on chapter 5, autism, so have read chapters on deafness, dwarfism (I assume this is an acceptable term in the USA) and Down's syndrome. I agree it's a bit repetitive. I'm interested in what he says about the different models/approaches to the various conditions, which could be summarised as "fix it" or "celebrate it", and the battles between proponents of one or the other. The passages explaining biology and science are hard going for me but I do find the case histories fascinating.
I guess AS would describe your brother as having a horizontal identity in your family, because of his ethnic difference. As a lesbian daughter of heterosexual parents, I was "other" too.
Thanks for your comments, nice to get a response!
Finished it a couple of days ago- I really liked it! Not groundbreaking. But altogether, it's sensitive and humble, a labour of love, and the research is obviously meticulate and well assembled with insight. I do think it is a much more personal book than reviews seem to recognise, which helps to create the synoptic feel- otherwise I think it would have been hard to pull off. I also kept feeling through the book that he was trying very hard to prove that life could be rich even if you did have to go to Holland....you're not meant to suspect you're being persuaded! didn't find it a satisfying read exactly but did like it.
Think he mentioned he was gay or linked the fact to his point in every chapter nearly!
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