The Reckoning: Searching for Meaning with the Father of the Sandy Hook Killer

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First published in The New Yorker, “Solomon tells the story of Peter Lanza, the father of Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary shooter. Read it—it’s moving, brave and just profoundly human and sad....There aren’t any answers. And that’s what makes this all so impossible, and Solomon’s journalism so essential” (Salon.com).

“Both parents loved Adam. Neither parent imagined or wanted their child’s horrific end. This is why what Peter Lanza did by sharing his story with Andrew Solomon is so important. Lanza’s story fills important gaps in our understanding of how a beloved child became a killer—and reminds us as a society that we have an obligation to help families and children before they find themselves on irreversible paths of violence” (Time).
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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
May 26, 2014
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Pages
30
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ISBN
9781476793146
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Collections / Essays
Psychology / Suicide
Social Science / Sociology / Marriage & Family
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From the winner of the National Book Award and the National Books Critics’ Circle Award—and one of the most original thinkers of our time—“Andrew Solomon’s magisterial Far and Away collects a quarter-century of soul-shaking essays” (Vanity Fair).

Far and Away chronicles Andrew Solomon’s writings about places undergoing seismic shifts—political, cultural, and spiritual. From his stint on the barricades in Moscow in 1991, when he joined artists in resisting the coup whose failure ended the Soviet Union, his 2002 account of the rebirth of culture in Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban, his insightful appraisal of a Myanmar seeped in contradictions as it slowly, fitfully pushes toward freedom, and many other stories of profound upheaval, this book provides a unique window onto the very idea of social change. With his signature brilliance and compassion, Solomon demonstrates both how history is altered by individuals, and how personal identities are altered when governments alter.

A journalist and essayist of remarkable perception and prescience, Solomon captures the essence of these cultures. Ranging across seven continents and twenty-five years, these “meaty dispatches…are brilliant geopolitical travelogues that also comprise a very personal and reflective resume of the National Book Award winner’s globe-trotting adventures” (Elle). Far and Away takes a magnificent journey into the heart of extraordinarily diverse experiences: “You will not only know the world better after having seen it through Solomon’s eyes, you will also care about it more” (Elizabeth Gilbert).
*Instant New York Times Bestseller*

The #1 New York Times Monthly Sports and Fitness bestseller

From noted ESPN commentator and journalist Kate Fagan, the heartbreaking and vital story of college athlete Madison Holleran, whose death by suicide rocked the University of Pennsylvania campus and whose life reveals with haunting detail and uncommon understanding the struggle of young people suffering from mental illness today.




If you scrolled through the Instagram feed of 19-year-old Maddy Holleran, you would see a perfect life: a freshman at an Ivy League school, recruited for the track team, who was also beautiful, popular, and fiercely intelligent. This was a girl who succeeded at everything she tried, and who was only getting started.

But when Maddy began her long-awaited college career, her parents noticed something changed. Previously indefatigable Maddy became withdrawn, and her thoughts centered on how she could change her life. In spite of thousands of hours of practice and study, she contemplated transferring from the school that had once been her dream. When Maddy's dad, Jim, dropped her off for the first day of spring semester, she held him a second longer than usual. That would be the last time Jim would see his daughter.

WHAT MADE MADDY RUN began as a piece that Kate Fagan, a columnist for espnW, wrote about Maddy's life. What started as a profile of a successful young athlete whose life ended in suicide became so much larger when Fagan started to hear from other college athletes also struggling with mental illness. This is the story of Maddy Holleran's life, and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressures young people, and college athletes in particular, face to be perfect, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.
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