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Far from the Tree Audiobook
Far from the Tree
Written by: 
Andrew Solomon
Narrated by: 
Andrew Solomon
Far from the Tree Audiobook

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

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Publisher's Summary

National Book Critics Circle Award, Nonfiction, 2013

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 12 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.

©2012 Andrew Solomon (P)2012 Simon & Schuster, Inc

What the Critics Say

"In Far from the Tree, Andrew Solomon reminds us that nothing is more powerful in a child's development than the love of a parent. This remarkable new book introduces us to mothers and fathers across America - many in circumstances the rest of us can hardly imagine - who are making their children feel special, no matter what challenges come their way." (President Bill Clinton)

"This is one of the most extraordinary books I have read in recent times - brave, compassionate and astonishingly humane. Solomon approaches one of the oldest questions - how much are we defined by nature versus nurture? - and crafts from it a gripping narrative. Through his stories, told with such masterful delicacy and lucidity, we learn how different we all are, and how achingly similar. I could not put this book down." (Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies)

"An informative and moving book that raises profound issues regarding the nature of love, the value of human life, and the future of humanity." (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (733 )
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4.3 (629 )
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Performance
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  •  
    History Buff Maryland 11-20-14
    History Buff Maryland 11-20-14 Member Since 2012

    Grace

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruditutti 07-24-14
    Ruditutti 07-24-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "40 Hours Well Spent"
    What did you love best about Far from the Tree?

    Andrew Solomon shows keen insight and never-failing compassion with every interview for this book. He is especially good with parents. Parenting is soul-shaking work-- how wonderful to hear of the experiences of others doing this work in honest, unflinching, and loving writing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 06-23-14
    Sarah Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 06-23-14 Member Since 2016
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    "So. Long."
    Would you try another book from Andrew Solomon and/or Andrew Solomon?

    No... I think he's said all he can say.


    What was most disappointing about Andrew Solomon’s story?

    I listened to the ted talk by Andrew Solomon and was moved so much by the power in his words I had to get the book. It was a really lengthy reiteration of the ted talk. There is a lot of repetition and very long anectdotes that don't really add anything new to the concepts he is trying to present.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Narration was fine.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emrys Alfred, NY, United States 05-28-14
    Emrys Alfred, NY, United States 05-28-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geneva 05-02-14
    Geneva 05-02-14 Member Since 2014

    cartoonist

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "sad but good"
    If you could sum up Far from the Tree in three words, what would they be?

    Informative yet intimate


    What did you like best about this story?

    - very long, a good value
    - very informative
    - provides a lot of food for thought and perspectives I hadn't considered
    - stories with a lot of human interest


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    came close to crying a few times. some very heavy stuff.


    Any additional comments?

    it makes you think a lot about things that can go wrong in life (or sometimes pre-life), which is a huge bummer. I felt sad a lot while listening to this book, but I was extremely engaged. warning: this book has an entire section that talks about rape, and the consequences thereof, so a trigger warning may be warranted for people who are sensitive to such material. I didn't get "triggered" as much as slowly I felt sickened and saddened by these stories in particular.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martine New York, NY, USA 04-06-14
    Martine New York, NY, USA 04-06-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent listen/read, if a little uneven"
    Where does Far from the Tree rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the very best.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The sections on deafness and dwarfism are, by far, the strongest in the book.


    Which character – as performed by Andrew Solomon – was your favorite?

    Andrew Solomon was a peerless narrator for his own book because he could accurately reenact the dialogue from the interviews that make-up the book.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    True happiness can come from parenting any and every child, and it always comes from the same source: when the parent stops seeing the child as a narcissistic extension of him- or herself


    Any additional comments?

    The book is separated into subject sections and some are excellent and some are much weaker. The sections on deafness and dwarfism, for instance, were so interesting I didn't want to do anything else but stay home and listen to them. However, the sections on musical prodigies was so thin and repetitive that I was tempted to skip around just to make it move faster. I would also like to add that, as a geneticist, I was sincerely impressed with both the authors grasp of the concepts and his ability to convey them to a non-expert.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    O. Oye Houston, TX United States 12-17-13
    O. Oye Houston, TX United States 12-17-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrible, self indulgent book"
    What disappointed you about Far from the Tree?

    The whole tone of the book is whiny and self indulgent. Feel like the author wanted to write an autobiography and just lumped other topics to reach a wider audience.


    Has Far from the Tree turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No just from this author


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Andrew Solomon?

    A different narrator couldn't have saved this awfulness.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Far from the Tree?

    I abandoned this after the underlying arrogant assumption that being gay somehow made him an empathetic authority on everything else - race, disability, dwarfism - finally got on my nerves.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Huddos PORTLAND, OR, United States 11-20-13
    Huddos PORTLAND, OR, United States 11-20-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A truly wonderful book"
    Where does Far from the Tree rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is the best audiobook I have ever listened to.


    What does Andrew Solomon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice is incredibly easy to listen to for 40 hours!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes! I couldn't put it down, so to speak.


    Any additional comments?

    I now know what it means what it means when someone says that something is like "music to my ears". The author's language, storytelling, and insights fed my mind in ways very similar to a beautiful song. My mind and my heart swirled into one as I listened to many of his brilliantly constructed sentences. It's not just a well-researched book on humanity, family, adversity, and courage. It is also an artistic masterpiece that touched my emotions and intellect. Seriously good audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 11-15-13
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 11-15-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Masterpiece!"
    Any additional comments?

    Really enjoyed this. Solomon interweaves individuals personal stories within the context of the historical and social issues of many different conditions that separate a child's identity from their parents. Very thought provoking and moving at the same time without being preachy. You can't read this without coming away from it a changed person.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth 08-19-13
    Elizabeth 08-19-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "ONE OF MY TOP 5 FAVORITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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