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.
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.
At any rate, the true drama of Inheritance is not Shapiro’s discovery of her father’s identity but the meaning she makes of it ... Shapiro’s account is beautifully written and deeply moving — it brought me to tears more than once. I couldn’t help feeling unnerved, though, by the strength of her conviction that blood will out, which leads her uncomfortably close to genetic determinism.