The Noonday Demon: An Atlas Of Depression

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With uncommon humanity, candor, wit, and erudition, award-winning author Andrew Solomon takes the reader on a journey of incomparable range and resonance into the most pervasive of family secrets. His contribution to our understanding not only of mental illness but also of the human condition is truly stunning.

The Noonday Demon examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms. Drawing on his own struggles with the illness and interviews with fellow sufferers, doctors and scientists, policymakers and politicians, drug designers and philosophers, Solomon reveals the subtle complexities and sheer agony of the disease. He confronts the challenge of defining the illness and describes the vast range of available medications, the efficacy of alternative treatments, and the impact the malady has had on various demographic populations around the world and throughout history. He also explores the thorny patch of moral and ethical questions posed by emerging biological explanations for mental illness.

The depth of human experience Solomon chronicles, the range of his intelligence, and his boundless curiosity and compassion will change the reader's view of the world.
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From the National Book Award–winning author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression comes a monumental new work, a decade in the writing, about family. In Far from the Tree, Andrew Solomon tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so.

Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us all. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter.

All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent parents should accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves. Drawing on forty thousand pages of interview transcripts with more than three hundred families, Solomon mines the eloquence of ordinary people facing extreme challenges. Whether considering prenatal screening for genetic disorders, cochlear implants for the deaf, or gender reassignment surgery for transgender people, Solomon narrates a universal struggle toward compassion. Many families grow closer through caring for a challenging child; most discover supportive communities of others similarly affected; some are inspired to become advocates and activists, celebrating the very conditions they once feared. Woven into their courageous and affirming stories is Solomon’s journey to accepting his own identity, which culminated in his midlife decision, influenced by this research, to become a parent.

Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original thinker, Far from the Tree explores themes of generosity, acceptance, and tolerance—all rooted in the insight that love can transcend every prejudice. This crucial and revelatory book expands our definition of what it is to be human.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Nov 16, 2011
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Pages
576
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ISBN
9781451676884
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Psychology / Emotions
Psychology / Psychopathology / Depression
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“A frightening tale that will strike a nerve in anyone whose life has been touched by the agony of mental illness” (People).
 
It hides in plain sight—in the colleague who drinks too much, in the friend who keeps canceling nights out, in the teenager who won’t leave his room. It is frequently found running in tandem with other life-threatening diseases. It is in our colleagues, in our friends, in our families.
 
Depression has afflicted Tracy Thompson most of her life. To the outsider looking in, she was a happy person with a rewarding career, a beautiful family, and a large circle of friends. But lurking beneath the veil of contentment was a dark, inexplicable, and all-consuming despair that she would later dub “The Beast.”
 
In this unflinching chronicle of her continuing battle against “The Beast,” Tracy Thompson writes with ceaseless candor on her struggles and the internal war that pursued her from youth to adulthood, undermining relationships, complicating her career, and threatening her family. Thompson recounts this most personal and vital battle to reclaim her life before depression could take it from her. A seminal work on depression at publication, The Beast remains an essential read to the millions of Americans enduring this affliction, in either their loved ones or themselves. It offers an insightful perspective on the disease, and a glimmer of hope.
 
“Ms. Thompson takes a clear-eyed look at work as well as love, intertwining the success story of her journalistic career (she eventually becomes a reporter on The Washington Post) with her record of numb despair, suicide attempts and hospitalizations.” —The New York Times
From the National Book Award–winning author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression comes a monumental new work, a decade in the writing, about family. In Far from the Tree, Andrew Solomon tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so.

Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us all. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter.

All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent parents should accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves. Drawing on forty thousand pages of interview transcripts with more than three hundred families, Solomon mines the eloquence of ordinary people facing extreme challenges. Whether considering prenatal screening for genetic disorders, cochlear implants for the deaf, or gender reassignment surgery for transgender people, Solomon narrates a universal struggle toward compassion. Many families grow closer through caring for a challenging child; most discover supportive communities of others similarly affected; some are inspired to become advocates and activists, celebrating the very conditions they once feared. Woven into their courageous and affirming stories is Solomon’s journey to accepting his own identity, which culminated in his midlife decision, influenced by this research, to become a parent.

Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original thinker, Far from the Tree explores themes of generosity, acceptance, and tolerance—all rooted in the insight that love can transcend every prejudice. This crucial and revelatory book expands our definition of what it is to be human.
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