Inheritance – book review

As I believe it should be, there are really only a few things which impress me to my very core. I see life with optimism and I haven’t yet lived enough of hardship to lose my faith or my hope. I like people and their stories and I try to expose myself to the world as much as I can. But every once in a while, very seldom, there are these moments of intensity when there is something so profound about the moment. It’s moments which, without scientific certainty I feel I know more, that I am connected to something bigger than myself. I had the feeling when visiting the Bergen Belsen camp, when during one of my walks I’ve seen what I think was a older homeless man walking up and down on a random corner street in Bucharest while drinking and also when listening to Inheritance. For some unknown reasons, this book has spoken to me in ways in which very few books have ever done.

Gretchen Rubin recommended the podcasters to read Inheritance: A Memoir of Generalogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro as the first book in the book club. On early March 2019 the writer was invited on the podcast. The episode can be listened to here or on the podcast app on your phone on the show Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

I use the app Audible on my phone and so I’ve decided to buy the book Inheritance in February as a result of the recommendation [side note: the books are bought in audible format from and then they can be open&downloaded in the Audible app on the phone]. The book is read by the author herself and it takes only 6 hours and 44 minutes to listen to it.

I listen to it while going to work, while drinking coffee in the afternoon, while working out, which is unusual for me. More than once, no matter what I was doing, I felt like crying, which, as well, is rather unusual. But there is this immense sadness in the necessity of understanding and accepting things about your own life which are different than the ones you already know.

Dani Shapiro takes the reader/listener step by step on her journey of making sense out of new discoveries related to her biological conception. She learns from a DNA test performed on an genealogy website at her husband’s suggestion that her father is not actually her father and that all the family history and tradition which came with it is not actually hers. Both parents were at the time dead and no relative or family friend knew the secret. The book takes us from an individual story to the impact of the uncovered secret upon multiple families and explains the context of the second part of the XXth century which allowed for such a story to occur.

She describes her journey of learning more about the process, about the reasons why her parents decided to go through sperm insemination for conceiving a child, about meeting her biological family, while constructing and de-constructing her own identity.

The book is dynamic in taking the reader/listener from deep sadness to pure joy, from anger to gratitude, in the journey of accepting other persons’ decisions without giving up on learning the truth and making sense of personal history. The book is about family secrets buried so deep they aren’t ever shared with the daughter.

I can’t recommend this book more. Is filled with kindness, family truths, identity crisis, all about humanity and what makes us humans. The book can be bought here. The first month of subscribing to Audible is free, so the book could be bought with the credit received and listened to with no financial cost.

This post is not sponsored by anyone other than myself. I really believe this is a good book. Feel free to let me know how you feel about the book!

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