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Andrew Solomon (born 30 October 1963) is an American author. He wrote The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (2001) and Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (2012).
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Far from the Tree (2012)
- Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (2012). Scribner, New York. ISBN 0-743-23671-8
- In the subconscious fantasies that make conception look so alluring, it is often ourselves that we would like to see live forever, not someone with a personality of his own.
- We depend on the guarantee in our children's faces that we will not die. Children whose defining quality annihilates that fantasy of immortality are a particular insult; we must love them for themselves, and not for the best of ourselves in them, and that is a great deal harder to do. Loving our own children is an exercise for the imagination.
- Our children are not us: they carry throwback genes and recessive traits and are subject right from the start to environmental stimuli beyond our control. And yet we are our children; the reality of being a parent never leaves those who have braved the metamorphosis.
- Ch. 1 Son, p 1.
- Insofar as our children resemble us, they are our most precious admirers, and insofar as they differ, they can be our most vehement distractors. From the beginning, we tempt them into imitation of us and long for what may be life's most profound compliment: their choosing to live according to our own system of values. Though many of us take pride in how different we are from our parents, we are endlessly sad at how different our children are from us.
- Ch. 1 Son, p 1-2.
- Difference unites us. While each of these experiences can isolate those who are affected, together they compose an aggregate of millions whose struggles connect them profoundly. The exceptional is ubiquitous; to be entirely typical is the rare and lonely state.
- Ch. 1 Son, p 4.
- When parents say, "I wish my child did not have autism," what they're really saying is "I wish the autistic child I have did not exist, and I had a different [nonautistic] child instead." Read that again. This is what we hear when you mourn over our existence. This is what we hear when you pray for a cure. This is what we know, when you tell us of your fondest hopes and dreams for us: that your greatest wish is that one day we will cease to be, and strangers you can love will move in behind our faces. —Jim Sinclair
- Ch. 1 Son, p 37.
- "I'm not responsible for my child and who she's become, but I am responsible to her, and she is a wonderful person. I love her. I don't know if you need to know anything else, but that's all I need to know." --Carol
- Ch. 11 Transgender, p 671.
- I started this book to forgive my parents and ended it by becoming a parent. Understanding backward liberated me to live forward.
- Ch. 12 Father, p. 677.
- A wise psychiatrist once said to me, "People want to get better, but they don't want to change." But I would propose that it is only by allowing people born with horizontal identities not to change that one allows them to get better. Any of us can be a better version of himself, but none of us can be someone else.
- Ch. 12 Father, p. 687.
- I think all love is one-third projection and one-third acceptance and never more than one-third knowledge and insight.
- Ch. 12 Father, p. 697.
- Most of the parents I interviewed for this book said they would never want other children than the ones they had, which at first seemed surprising given the challenges their children embody. But why do any of us prefer our own children, all of them defective in some regard, to others real or imagined? If some glorious angel descended into my living room and offered to exchange my children for other, better children—brighter, kinder, funnier, more loving, more disciplined, more accomplished—I would clutch the ones I have and, like most parents, pray away the atrocious specter.
- Ch. 12 Father, p. 698.
- I espouse reproductive libertarianism, because when everyone has the broadest choice, love itself expands. The affection my family have found in one another is not a better love, but it is another love, and just as species diversity is crucial to sustain the planet, this diversity strengthens the ecosphere of kindness. The road less traveled by, as it turns out, leads to pretty much the same place.
- Ch. 12 Father, p. 700.
- I want more than anything for my children to be happy, and I love them because they are sad, and the erratic project of kneading that sadness into joy is the engine of my life as a father, as a son, as a friend—and as a writer.
- Ch. 12 Father, p. 701.
- Insofar as I have written a self-help book, it is a how-to manual for receptivity: a description of how to tolerate what cannot be cured, and an argument that cures are not always appropriate even when they are feasible.
- Ch. 12 Father, p. 701-702.
- Children ensnared me the moment I connected fatherhood with loss, but I am not sure I would have noticed that if I hadn't been immersed in this research. Encountering so much strange love, I fell into its bewitching patterns and saw how splendor can illuminate even the most abject vulnerabilities. I had witnessed and learned the terrifying joy of unbearable responsibility, recognized how it conquers everything else. Sometimes, I had thought the heroic parents in this book were fools, enslaving themselves to a life's journey with their alien children, trying to breed identity out of misery. I was startled to learn that my research had built me a plank, and that I was ready to join them on their ship.
- Ch. 12 Father, p. 702.