More From The Rape Chapter From Far From The Tree By Andrew Solomon

Some statistics from Far From The Tree by Andrew Solomon

Studies have found that between twenty-five thousand and thirty-two thousand rape-related pregnancies occur each year in the United States. In a 1996 study of rape-related pregnancy, half of the subjects terminated their pregnancies; of the rest, two-thirds kept the child, one-fourth miscarried, and the rest gave the children up for adoption. Extrapolating from those figures, at least eight thousand women in this country keep rape-conceived children every year.

The psychology of these mothers thus far is fascinating because their reasoning for keeping these children. I keep vacillating back and forth on how I feel about this.


Reading From The Chapter on Rape From Far From the Tree By Andrew Solomon

This is one of those quotes from the book that I have never considered and really thought  thru.

One of the few organizations founded to address this vacuum, (speaking of children of rape), Stigma, Inc. took as its motto “Rape survivors are the victims….their children are the forgotten victims.”

Original caption states, "Dem. Rep. Congo...

Original caption states, “Dem. Rep. Congo: Meeting for Rape Victims Rape victims who have been successfully reintegrated into their communities assemble in a “peace hut” near Walungu, South Kivu in DRC. USAID-supported health programs have assisted rape victims with counseling, training, employment, and safe living environments.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More From The Prodigies Chapter From Far From The Tree By Andrew Solomon

I have finished the chapter on prodigies from the book and I wanted to share this paragraph which sums up parenting of prodigies. I found this excellent as I hope you will.

“What few adults can do, even fewer children can do. In the grand scheme, however, genius is only marginally more astonishing than development itself. Small children go from nonverbal to verbal in two years, and to literate in five more. They can master several languages at the same time. They learn how the shapes of letters related to both sound and meaning. They grasp the abstract idea of numbers and the means by which numbers characterize everything around us. They ace all this while they are learning to walk, chew, perhaps throw a ball, perhaps develop a sense of humor. Parents of prodigies are intimidated and awestruck at what their children can do—but so, fittingly, are parents of children who are not prodigies. Remembering that is the surest way to remain sane when parenting a child whose skills dramatically differ from or radically exceed one’s own.”

This book is remarkable and I highly recommend it to you even if this subject only interests you slightly. It is eye-opening from the standpoint of making you think outside of your comfort zone.


“Parenting” (Photo credit: vanhookc)

More From The Prodigies Chapter From Far From The Tree By Andrew Solomon

Embarrassing parents - swan duckling

Embarrassing parents – swan duckling (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I wanted to share this from the Prodigies Chapter page 445.

Gore Vidal wrote, ‘Hatred of one parent or the other can make an Ivan the Terrible or a Hemingway: the protective love, however, of two devoted parents can absolutely destroy an artist.’ Early trauma and deprivation become the engines of some children’s creativity. One researcher reviewed a list of eminent people and found that more than half had lost a parent before age twenty-six—-triple the rate of the general population. A horrific upbringing can kill talent or bring it to life. It is a matter of having a match between how the parents act and what a particular child needs. Robert Sirota said, ‘It’s very easy to destroy a talent; it’s much less likely that nurture can create ability where none existed.”

Organizing My Reading

The Signal and the Noise

The Signal and the Noise (Photo credit: marklarson)

I have tried different methods in order to get the most out of my reading. In reading Far From The Tree, I have taken on a 962 page behemoth. I am enjoying it immensely, but instead of plowing through, I am trying a different method, since I (like our readers) have so much on our plates.

I am going to devote Sunday and Monday reading for magazines such as The Economist, The New Yorker and various newspapers. My goal is to look for articles or subjects that will allow me to develop mental models for better decision making in areas such as investing, voting on issues for our county, business decisions and other various needs.

I am going to read five books at a time for the other five days with a maximum spent on one book to be one hour. I am currently reading the Book of Mark from the Bible for the month of April, and then the Book of Ephesians in the Bible for the month of May.

I will be analytically reading Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I read this back in the fall but did not quite understand it the way I feel I need. I am finishing up The Signal And The Noise by Nate Silver. I have enjoyed this book but I setting it down for a while, I hope to get a better perspective on what he is bringing to the table.

I am also currently rereading The Landscape of History by John Lewis Gaddis. I am extremely interested at the moment in cliodynamics and the various methods that historians use in writing and researching history.

I feel it is important to be prepared for the future so I am committing to read out of these five books, one science fiction. This is currently Diaspora by Greg Egan. He is by far my favorite author of hard science fiction.

I have currently thirty categories of reading and plan to rotate these books in order to cover  as many categories as possible and develop mental models in most of these areas. I plan to concentrate on the heavy lifting mental models but more on that later.

From The Prodigies Chapter From Far From The Tree By Andrew Solomon

The Ultimate Vanessa-Mae

The Ultimate Vanessa-Mae (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is without question one of the saddest things I have ever read. From page 431 from the book:

“The violinist Vanessa-Mae‘s mother controlled every aspect of her life: her bank accounts, her clothes, and the sexually provocative photo shoot for the cover of the album she released at seventeen. Vanessa-Mae (the prodigy) was never allowed to slice bread lest she cut her hand; she was not allowed to have friends, lest they distract her. Her mother said, ” I love you because you are my daughter, but you’ll never be special to me unless you play the violin.” Vanessa-Mae chose a new manager when she was twenty-one, “desperately hoping for a normal mother/daughter relationship.” She wanted companionship instead of supervision. Her mother has not spoken to her since; when a BBC film crew asked to interview Vanessa-Mae’s mother, she wrote, “My daughter is nearly 30. That part of my life is well and truly over.” Vanessa-Mae has been wildly successful, with a personal fortune estimated at $60 million, but she said, “I felt older at twelve than I do now.” She explained, “I carry the e-mail she sent to the BBC around with me, and if I ever have any pangs about what our relationship might have been like, I read that and realize it is never going to be.”

Once again, I do not have words to express how I hurt for that relationship.

More From The Autism Chapter From Far From The Tree By Andrew Solomon Part II

Major brain structures implicated in autism.

Major brain structures implicated in autism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is from page 242 and gives you another perspective on autism and what families go through:

“In 2008, a Canadian girl with autism named Carly Fleischmann, having never used language, began typing at age thirteen. Her parents didn’t even know that she could read or understand their speech. “We were stunned,” her father said. “We realized inside was an articulate, intelligent, emotive person whom we had never met. Even professionals labeled her as moderately to severely cognitively impaired.” Among the first things she wrote was, “If I could tell people one thing about autism, it would be that I don’t want to be this way but I am. So don’t be mad. Be understanding.” Later she wrote, “It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me. People assume I am dumb because I can’t talk or I act differently. I think people get scared with things that look or seem different than them.” When a father wrote to Carly to ask what his autistic child would want him to know, Carly wrote back, “I think he would want you to know that he knows more than you think he does.” Asked by her parents about her unexpected emergence, she said, “I think behavior therapy helped me. I believe that it allows me to sort my thoughts. Unfortunately it can’t make me normal. Believing helped. Then a miracle happened, you saw me type. Then you helped me forget that I’m autistic.”

That gives a totally different perspective on autism and shows the wide range of emotions and attitudes that parents and everyone display with special needs children as well as adults.