Andrew Solomon dedicated a chapter of his Anisfield-Wolf winning Far from the Tree on families whose children have committed serious crimes. He interviewed parents of gang leaders, killers and sex offenders, examining the place of the family during and after the child’s stint in prison. In the only interview published with the parents of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters in 1999’s Columbine massacre, Solomon showed the complexity of their lives: “I know it would have been better for the world if Dylan had never been born,” Sue Klebold says of her son. “But I believe it would not have been better for me.”
Because of this book, Peter Lanza reached out to Solomon to tell his side. Lanza is the father of Adam Lanza, the killer of 26 elementary school children, his mother and himself in Newtown, Conn. This led to Solomon interviewing the father for seven sessions, which resulted in a New Yorker article that made national news. The senior Lanza discusses his son, the massacre and its aftermath. He believes that Adam’s autism masked an underlying emotional disorder, one that went undetected by the numerous psychologists and psychiatrists who examined Adam.
For Anisfield-Wolf fans in Ohio, there are still tickets available to his March 18 appearance in Cleveland for the Cuyahoga County Library’s Writers Center Stage series.