An eloquent memoir that explores personal and universal issues of paternity, genetics, science, ethics and truth.
Through nine books, Dani Shapiro has mined her own experiences, trying to find meaning in events that have shaped her life. Shapiro's ongoing literary narrative continues with Inheritance, an unflinching, deeply personal account of how a DNA ancestry test irrevocably altered her life and the familiarity therein. The shocking results forced Shapiro to question her identity and everything she believed about herself and her family history over 54 years of living.
Shapiro grew up an observant Orthodox Jew shaped by her parents and a large "dynastic clan" in New Jersey. Religion and her spiritual life became the bedrock of her existence until she ultimately rebelled, breaking with Judaism while in college. When Shapiro was in her 20s, a catastrophic car accident claimed the life of her father, whom she deeply loved and respected. It also left her mother afflicted by years of related injuries until her death. Shapiro eventually reconnected with the traditions of her Jewish heritage after she became a mother herself.
Several years ago, Shapiro decided on a lark to have her DNA analyzed. The report ultimately revealed a life-altering truth: Shapiro's father was not her biological parent. Relentless in her tenacity, she goes in search of the man who was. She grapples with the secrecy of her parents and the meaning of family while seeking to reconcile the consequences of this revelation.
Shapiro (Hourglass) is always an intellectual, analytical storyteller. The engaging way in which she renders the suspenseful details of this forthright, meaningful odyssey will keep readers totally enthralled.
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro
Knopf, $24.95, Hardcover, 9781524732714, 272 pages
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
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NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (January 18, 2019), link HERE