Saturday, February 16, 2013

Far from the Tree

I haven't read the book, yet. I told a couple of friends who asked that I feel like I've already read the book. I haven't read the book, but I think I'm living the book. I've read so much about it; I've read excerpts; I've read blog posts of those who have read it. I've even discussed it as if I've read it which I know is sort of ridiculous. I bought a copy, and it's sitting in a pile of books by my bed. Last week, though, I had a disturbing conversation with a mental health professional who had some disturbingly old-fashioned ideas about disability, about what it means to have a disabled child, a disabled sibling -- the toll it takes on a family, the horror, the horror. This conversation temporarily undid me until I had a few conversations with my people. The people of my tribe, those whose children have fallen far from the tree. I was lifted by those conversations from weariness to power, so now I might read it.

My friend Jody, who I've written about here many times, is of my tribe, and she has a gorgeous piece of writing on the community page of Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree website. Please read it. And then read it again. And then think it and live it and then share it.


  1. I should read this book too. We all should, most likely.
    That was a wonderful, wonderful piece that Jody wrote. "She may be always lying down but she may be very, very happy."
    That's enough right there to knock you off your feet, to make you rethink everything you ever thought you knew.
    Thanks. As always, for directing me to something I need to know.

  2. This book is SO good!!! I'd never really thought about myself (as a disabled person) in the same category as some friends who I play violin with who are considered prodigies or children of rape. Really thought-provoking. My one complaint is that he mentioned "seizure disorders" several times in different contexts--once, I believe in relation to a kid with Down Syndrome and another time in relation to a sibling of one of the people he profiles. Yet, with all his discussion of horizontal identities, we don't seem to get our own. I wrote to Andrew Solomon about it... Something interesting to think about for those of us affected by epilepsy. But, I definitely recommend the read!

  3. Absolutely amazing book. Within the first five pages, I was driving Bubba crazy with all the lines I excitedly pulled out to read aloud. I think it will go down as one of the most important books of all time, IMHO.

  4. Read it last month and loved it. For me, Solomon is one of those special writers who articulates so beautifully thoughts that have been trudging around in my head for years. I am forever grateful.

  5. This seals it for me, I have to read this book. Another good suggestion if you are looking for reading material is Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. It was beyond excellent :)

  6. The book has been on my list, especially since "The Noonday Demon" helped me understand a bad depression I went through in my early 20's. Jody's piece was haunting, and beautiful. This is why we need your "How We Do It" series--so that we can have some idea, however limited (by our own lives, not by your incredible writing) of what it's like. What it means.

  7. I JUST READ THIS on my long weekend away in florida (from which I just returned today!). It is truly amazing. I saw pieces of myself in so many chapters, pieces I've left broken on the floor years ago and pieces I carry now that make me whole. It is a heavy, dense, intense book that I needed to take mental breaks from every few hours but it is something i wish everyone would read. He is an exceptional talent and it can't help but make you think.



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