Inheritance Review

Review by Magda

This book could be perhaps classified as a new genre of genealogical detective story.  With the new advancements in medical science, there is a potential of uncovering human mysteries and secrets that were meant never to be revealed. While telling her own story of search for self-identity and family secrets revealed with one such DNA test, the author is raising new and profound questions in our times of wide spread DNA testing. As per Shapiro, 14% of people who underwent genetic testing uncovered something they did not expect. The author poses questions not only about the loss of self identity with these uncovered secrets, but also about the new and muddy waters of ethics, philosophy, theology, and the inheritance laws stemming from surrogate parenting.  Shapiro has been looking for meaning out of random events all of her life. She realized that secrets have corrosive power and consequences. She writes beautifully about her life and special relationship with her, now deceased, father.  Death of a parent is also a death of “documentable facts and shared memories,” Shapiro states, because there is no one else left who has the same memories as we do. The book could be summarized by the author’s quote: “All my life I have known there was a secret. What I did not know that the secret was me.”  This book is well written in a journalistic style, by an enticing author – a story teller. Be prepared, one may shed a tear or two.

Find Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro at one of our branches or on Axis360.