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Andrew Solomon at New Trier High School Dec. 4
From a press release
2013-11-27

This article shared 4929 times since Wed Nov 27, 2013
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Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, Love, No Matter What: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, 7 p.m., New Trier High School, Winnetka Campus, Gaffney Auditorium, 385 Winnetka Ave.

Andrew Solomon's magnificent 2012 book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, is an account of how families integrate children with physical, mental and social differences and challenges. Named as of the 10 best books in 2012 by The New York Times, it won a National Book Critics Circle Award for its brave, humane, compassionate examination of how to open your heart to a child different from you. The narrative carries the reader along through 12 chapters describing the struggles and triumphs of families who have children born "far from the tree," those coping with issues of autism, multiple severe disabilities, deafness, Down syndrome, dwarfism, schizophrenia, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender.

But what separates us also unites us — Far From the Tree's poignancy is that the struggle to accept the identity of a child so different from us in universal. As parents and family members, we all feel challenged when we experience someone close to us as so very "different" from us — the sports-minded father with a sports-indifferent child, the quiet mother with an extroverted teen. The gulf may not be as wide as that of a parent raising a child with severe disabilities; but Solomon's extensive interviews with these families ( 40,000 pages on interview transcripts with more than 300 families ) illuminates a persistent tension between accepting children for who they are and trying to help them become their best selves. Can we "love, no matter what"?

Mr. Solomon is the author of The Noonday Demon: At Atlas of Depression, an examination of depression in personal, cultural and scientific terms that won the 2001 National Book Award for Nonfiction, and was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize. He received his BA magna cum laude from Yale University and his Master's degree from Jesus College, Cambridge, and he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology there. From 1993-2001, Mr. Solomon was a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. He is an activist and philanthropist in LGBT rights, mental health, education and the arts.

Sponsored by the Family Action Network ( FAN ) and the New Trier Parents' Association, in partnership with Family Service Center, National Alliance on Mental Illness — Cook County Suburban North ( NAMI-CCNS ), Northern Suburban Special Education District ( NSSED ), and Winnetka D36. CPDUs available for education professionals. This program is free and open to the public. Visit www.familyactionnetwork.net for more information.

FAN is grateful for the support of its 2013-14 financial sponsors Compass Health Center, Evanston Township High School D202, Evanston/Skokie D65, New Trier High School D203, North Shore Community Bank, Northbrook Citizens for Drug and Alcohol Awareness ( NCDAA ), The Family Institute at Northwestern University, the Martin & Mary L. Boyer Foundation, and Tina & Byron Trott, and our in-kind sponsors Acclaim Media, The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, and Turing Group.


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