Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity - Andrew Solomon Here's a trailer for the book:

What a great book. Solomon looks at families, which usually have vertical identities (shared family traits), where children have horizontal identities (characteristics they share with people outside of their families). Being a prodigy or schizophrenic or born with Down syndrome usually gives children an identity they do not share with their parents. It can be bewildering, heartbreaking, and sometimes richly rewarding for those parents.

Solomon did research and interviews for this book over the course of a decade. His depth of understanding of his subjects shows. His study is at once caring, understanding, and academically informed. He neither sugarcoats nor dismisses the struggles these families face, and one can often feel the respect he grows to feel for his subjects.

[b:Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity|13547504|Far from the Tree Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity|Andrew Solomon|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1363008433s/13547504.jpg|19112644] is bookended by Solomon's personal stories; growing up dyslexic and gay, and deciding to become a dad. He reflects meaningfully on his personal journey throughout the book, but does not make it a book about himself. I appreciated the extent to which he was able to share himself without turning the focus to his own story.

One of my favorite plugs on the back of the book is from Siddhartha Mukherjee: "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 highly recommend it.