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Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy,…
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Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

by Dani Shapiro

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15311115,482 (4.06)11

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What a beautiful journey Dani took us on after finding out at the age of 54 that her father wasn’t in fact her biological father.

With both her parents deceased, she has to rely on the internet and vague memories from her childhood to piece things together. ( )
  allegedlymari | Mar 2, 2019 |
You're 54 years old, always felt like the odd duck in your Jewish family, blond, blue eyed, pale, but you were not prepared from the results of your genealogical testing. Although you often felt like you didn't belong, you knew who you belonged to, who your parents were, but you never expected what came in that little envelope. Your father, not your father, and although goth your parents are no longer alive, your want and need answers. Who are you really, Dani Shapiro?

A rerrifically, honest book about Shapiro's quest to discover her real father. She enters the world of sperm donors, and this strange trip will have a related trajectory to her own life. This is a highly emotional book, a search for self,can search for answers, but the emotional language is handled well. She is a terrific writer. Her Jewish faith, of course as her mother was Jewish she still is as well, but she seeks out rabbis for questioning and enlightenment. Now she is only half of what she was, but what is the on the other half? A genealogical detective story that takes some amazing turns and requires some greater understanding. Would she gain more than she lost?

ARC from Edelweiss. ( )
  Beamis12 | Feb 23, 2019 |
Inheritance is a memoir written by Dani Shapiro after discovering through a DNA test that the man who raised her was not her biological father. In fact, she discovers she is the result of artificial insemination and her biological father is a man who was a medical student at the time.
Ms. Shapiro delves into her family relationships, her upbringing as a conservative Jew, and the changes resulting from her discovery. Her view of herself changes drastically as she assimilates this new information. Sometimes her story is hard to read, but it is an absorbing tale of nurture and nature. A few times I felt she was overreacting and a bit too self-absorbed, but by the end, she has managed to look at her parents' struggle with conception more in the context of their times and not as if it was all about her.
It's an interesting story about a compelling subject. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Feb 23, 2019 |
Dani Shapiro's memoirs - at least the two I have read so far - tend to ponder big life questions. The book Inheritance deals with the question of identity. I find that in both, I have been willing to follow along for almost three hundred pages as Ms. Shapiro seems to think out loud through the dilemmas of her life. For me, the books just work.

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2019/02/inheritance.html

Reviewed for Penguin First to Read program. ( )
  njmom3 | Feb 22, 2019 |
”What never fail to draw me in, however, are secrets. Secrets within families. Secrets we keep out of shame, or self-protectiveness, or denial. Secrets and their corrosive power. Secrets we keep from one another in the name of love.” (Page 29)

In this age when nobody really has secrets anymore and your life is an open book, where e mails are hacked and stolen and possibly revealed to an exhausted public, where people seem to take pictures of every possible part of their bodies and share them with (supposedly) loved ones only to see them reproduced for that same drained apathetic public, we probably shouldn’t be surprised that something a college student agreed to back in the sixties would come back to haunt him today.

Dani Shapiro is a writer and a devout Jew, brought up in New Jersey by her Jewish parents in 1962. She had a close, loving relationship with her devout Jewish father who was killed in a car accident when she was in her early twenties. Dani now has a husband and a teenage son of her own and sees her world turned upside down when she submits her DNA sample to Ancestry.com and blithely opens the e mail that contains some shocking results.
This is a gripping memoir from an accomplished writer who is able to convey her feelings of grief, shock, anger, acceptance and love when she finds that her father is not who she believes him to be. But in the end, maybe that isn’t what’s important.

An important read at a time when we’re all very interested to see where we come from and who we’re related to it made me fairly satisfied that I opted to not see my DNA matches or be listed as a match on Ancestry. Very highly recommended. ( )
  brenzi | Feb 14, 2019 |
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Epigraph
I shall never get you to put together entirely,
Pieced, glued, and properly jointed.
---Sylvia Plath, "The Colossus"
If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.
---George Orwell, 1984
Dedication
This book is for my father.
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When I was a girl I would sneak down the hall late at night once my parents were asleep.
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