Familial acceptance is a value many strive to achieve. However, author Andrew Solomon turns this value on its head, telling stories of individuals who have been tragic victims of intense prejudice as well as stories of families that have embraced their differences. With his new book, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, Solomon asserts the old adage “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” can actually be far from the truth in many cases.
Solomon writes from the heart as a gay child of straight parents. What once was considered an illness became a strong part of Solomon’s personal identity, developing his perspective that illness and identity have shifting boundaries. His interest in the disability rights movement and families coping with extreme difference prompted the research for his book. Far from the Tree explores the effect dwarfism, autism, Down syndrome, prodigious genius, and multiple severe disabilities have on a family. Additionally, Solomon portrays the lives of families with children conceived through rape, who identify as transgender, who develop schizophrenia, and who commit serious crimes.
Common Good Books hosts Solomon for a discussion. Listen to the author’s tales of interviewing more than 250 families for his book and the profound challenges and profound joy experienced within every family. 7 p.m. Free. —RO
Hill Ballroom, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-225-8989, commongoodbooks.com