Has anyone else read this book? I just started it, and I am really impressed. No parenting advice at all, it is a survey of parenting experiences of families raising children very different than they expected. So far, I have read the chapters on autism, deafness, Down Syndrome, dwarfism, and schizophrenia. He speaks of each of these conditions as an identity, as much as a diagnosis or disability. Although I don't necessarily agree with every conclusion, it is insightful and broad, making some connections I have never heard articulated. Written by a non-parent who took 10 years to research, I am looking forward to finishing reading, and to discussing it if anyone here is interested.
Far From the Tree
I heard this author interviewed on NPR and wrote this title down on my "to read" list. I have a 19 month old and one on the way and an ever growing list of books I want to read. I was an avid reader prior to parenthood! Unfortunately, I don't know when I'll get time to read it but I will follow this thread to hear others' thoughts. Right now, I get in a parenting book here and there but that's about it. :(
I'm glad you are enjoying the book. It definitely intrigued me and sounded like a worthwhile read.
I started it and could not put it down! I thought it was very insightful, too, revelatory even. I thought his take on vertical vs horizontal identities very interesting, and broadly applicable. I am not sure whether I agree with his super broad sweep, ranging from deafness over multiple developmental disabilities to musical genius and homosexuality over dwarfism to criminality (and I've been missing immigration in there, possible the most common disruption to vertical family identity existant)- though I understand his argument about what the disruption in family identities has in common, I am not sure how useful it really is in finding the connectedness to mankind that he feels these disruptions engender in family members. Also, in his take on criminality, he does not appear to be able to make up his mind whether he is talking about disadvantaged youths making poor choices or full-blown pathology, and he juxtaposes extreme low-functioning autistic children with fully functional grown aspies claiming an autistic identity. Stuff like that, which might have benefitted from a sharper focus.But in a way, that's his point: everything is comparable in that it makes up human experience, and nothing is comparable in that everyone is different and needs to steer his own path between pathology and identity.
All in all, if you have just given birth to your special needs youngest and have already grappled with dual exceptionalities with your oldest (giftedness and autistic traits) reading this book is like hot chocolate in front of a fireplace, having a super interesting conversation...