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Product ID: 245582
Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2012: Anyone who’s ever said (or heard or thought) the adage “chip off the old
block” might burrow into Andrew Solomon’s tome about the ways in which children are different from their parents--and
what such differences do to our conventional ideas about family. Ruminative, personal, and reportorial all at once,
Solomon--who won a National Book Award for his treatise on depression, The Noonday Demon--begins by describing his own
experience as the gay son of heterosexual parents, then goes on to investigate the worlds of deaf children of hearing
parents, dwarves born into “normal” families, and so on. His observations and conclusions are complex and not easily
summarized, with one exception: The chapter on children of law-abiding parents who become criminals. Solomon rightly
points out that this is a very different situation indeed: “to be or produce a schizophrenic...is generally deemed a
misfortune,” he writes. “To...produce a criminal is often deemed a failure.” Still, parents must cope with or not,
accept or not, the deeds or behaviors or syndromes of their offspring. How they do or do not do that makes for
fascinating and disturbing reading. --Sara Nelson