The author of Hourglass now gives us a new memoir about identity, paternity, and family secrets—a real-time exploration of the staggering discovery she recently made about her father, and her struggle to piece together the hidden story of her own life.
In her fascinating new memoir, Inheritance, Shapiro ... begins a remarkable, dogged, emotional journey as [she] digs into the past to find the truth. Inheritance reads like a mystery, unfolding minute by minute and day by day. The reader experiences the grief, surprises and setbacks right along with the author ... She juggles all of these threads and—it must be said—all of this overwhelming emotion quite deftly, while spinning the story out smoothly ... Shapiro’s book is a wise and thorough examination of how this news affected her. She is a good guide for the bombshells that are yet to explode for so many families.
The better the writer, the more unassailable the identity. This makes the identity crisis of Inheritance all the more precarious—and Shapiro’s presentation of it all the more remarkable ... [Shapiro] has an intimate, ruminating style, leaping associatively through time, addressing the reader not as an audience, or voyeur, but more as an interlocutor, thoughtfully answering the questions she thinks someone might ask, if they lived in her head ... a disorderly book. There is panic, neurosis, disorientation ... It’s gory, not contemplative. And it’s wonderfully apt ... Shapiro’s account of her experience with an unexpected result from genetic testing is superﬁcially so much more storylike than her previous stories ... With everything suddenly on the table—to contemplate—and no way to resolve it, Shapiro ﬁnds the subject that allows her to write from the center, raw, as the story unfolds, in the wreckage of immediacy.
Inheritance is consumed by the question of what if? What if the man Shapiro thought was her father is not? What if she could find the man who is her biological father? What if he doesn’t want anything to do with her? What if he does? What if she is not who she thought she was? ... Inheritance is fundamentally a tale of soul-searching. Much of the book consists of Shapiro processing and pondering each new bit of information ... Inheritance offers a thought-provoking look at the shifting landscape of identity. It will make you think twice before you casually spit into that vial.