Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity. By Andrew Solomon. Scribner; 962 pages; $37.50. To be published in Britain by Chatto & Windus in February; £30. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
ANDREW SOLOMON never knew a time when he was not gay. He chose pink balloons over blue ones and described operas on the school bus rather than trade baseball cards. He was teased at school for being effete and ignored by children issuing party invitations. In his teens Mr Solomon began to suffer from depression. His parents, supportive and understanding, would have preferred their son to be straight and encouraged him to marry a woman and have a family. The recognition that he was gay came only when he understood that gayness was not a matter of behaviour, but of identity; and identity is learned by observing and being part of a subculture outside the family.