As the writer Andrew Solomon, his husband, John Habich, and their three-year-old son George descend the stone steps, they bring a burst of colour to the dark grey underworld of the New York Transit Museum: John in brilliant red corduroys, George in an orange-striped shirt, Andrew in a bright-blue striped shirt and scarlet socks.
I have brought along my son, Leo. Being three, the boys don’t really talk to each other, they run. There are antique buses to drive, models of the third rail to electrify, subways to bounce around.
Solomon has just published his spectacularly successful book Far from the Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love, which chronicles the stories of children who, for various reasons, are extremely different from their parents. The book took 11 years to write and its 702 pages include autism, schizophrenia, Down’s syndrome, child prodigies, transgendered children, deafness, dwarfism, and crime. Each chapter tackles a different subject, seen through interviews with numerous families.