Partners, parents, love

Author Ann Patchett, whose latest book is “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage,” revealed in an interview with Terry Gross how she was determined not to marry for a second time. But, when her partner of eleven years was faced with a potentially life threatening medical diagnosis, she immediately suggested they wed, should any life decisions need to be made. Not long after she sold her house and tied the knot, her husband received a clean bill of health. Patchett’s matrimonial leap turned out to be better than imagined.

Not long after listening to Patchett’s interview, I came across these words from National Book Award winning author Andrew Solomon, “…I know that attachment happens when things turn dark.” That dark place served as the catalyst for Patchett and her partner, and in Solomon’s “Far from the Tree,” parents are faced with the darkest of places as they find themselves “custodians of children beyond their comprehension.” The subtitle indicates that it is a chronicle of “parents, children, and the search for identity,” although after finishing this enormous product of ten years of research, I’d argue that this book is the story of “revolutionary love against the odds.” To me, this defines any form of love, because love requires vulnerability, humanity, generosity, resilience, and grace.

“Far from the Tree”, the subject of discussion of last night’s Books on Tap, should be read by anyone who is a parent, has a parent, or is considering parenthood. Chapters cover a wide range of exceptional parenting circumstances, including children who are deaf, have Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, dwarfs, prodigies, parents who have children as a result of rape, and more. Reading about the triumphs, tragedies, heartbreaks, and perseverance of parents, is an illuminating, sometimes tear-inducing journey. But, what it mostly is, is compassionate. Each chapter serves as a rich, realistic canvas, forming the pieces of what, in the end, make up a portrait of love: hard-fought, hard-won, exhausting, brutal, beautiful love.

Mark your calendars to join us February 25th at 7pm at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room for our final Books on Tap book group. We’ll be discussing Susan Cain’s “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.” We promise to be anything but.

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