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

September 19, 2014 | by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs

“Parenting is no sport for perfectionists,” Andrew Solomon writes in Far From the Tree: Children and the Search for Identity, his groundbreaking and compassionate book about what it really means to be a parent.

A lecturer in psychiatry at Cornell University, Solomon spent 10 years interviewing more than 300 families for the book. He focused on parents of children with a range of physical, cognitive or psychological differences, and concluded that “the unhappy families who reject their variant children have much in common, while the happy ones who strive to accept them are happy in a multitude of ways.”

Solomon will present Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity on September 25 at Elmhurst College.

Far From the Tree, which received the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, explores the lives of families that accommodate children with physical, mental and social disabilities and how these challenges can broaden one’s capacity for love. President Bill Clinton called the book “remarkable,” and The New York Times chose it as one of the Ten Best Books of 2012, praising it as “a book everyone should read … there’s no one who wouldn’t be a more imaginative and understanding parent—or human being—for having done so.”

A regular contributor to NPR, The New York Times and many other publications, Solomon has lectured on an extensive range of topics at Harvard, Yale and MIT and is a frequent lecturer in psychiatry at Weill-Cornell Medical College. Beyond his writing, Solomon is an outspoken activist and philanthropist for many causes in LGBT rights, mental health, education and the arts.

Solomon’s talk will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 25, in Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel on the Elmhurst campus. A book signing will follow the lecture. Admission is $10 for the general public and free for Elmhurst College students, faculty, staff and alumni. Tickets are available online or at the door, depending on availability. For more information, call (630) 617-3390.

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