Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale
Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale__front

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Product Description

An Instant NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A LOS ANGELES TIMES, BOSTON GLOBE, WALL STREET JOURNAL, and NATIONAL INDIE BESTSELLER

Named A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by *Elle * Vanity Fair * Wired * Real Simple * Kirkus Reviews * BookPage *


“Memoir gold: a profound and exquisitely rendered exploration of identity and the true meaning of family.” —People Magazine

“Beautifully written and deeply moving—it brought me to tears more than once.”—Ruth Franklin, The New York Times Book Review

From the acclaimed, best-selling memoirist, novelist and host of the hit podcast  Family Secrets, comes a memoir about the staggering family secret uncovered by a genealogy test: an exploration of the urgent ethical questions surrounding fertility treatments and DNA testing, and a profound inquiry of paternity, identity, and love.

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had casually submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her beloved deceased father was not her biological father. Over the course of a single day, her entire history—the life she had lived—crumbled beneath her.
     Inheritance is a book about secrets. It is the story of a woman''s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that had been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in, a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.
     Dani Shapiro’s memoir unfolds at a breakneck pace—part mystery, part real-time investigation, part rumination on the ineffable combination of memory, history, biology, and experience that makes us who we are. Inheritance is a devastating and haunting interrogation of the meaning of kinship and identity, written with stunning intensity and precision.

Review

New York Times Editors'' Choice
A Vanity Fair, New Yorker, Washington Post, Vulture, Bustle, Real Simple, PopSugar, and LitHub Most Anticipated Book of 2019 

“[An] engrossing, compassionate memoir.... As in the best writing on the self, the point is the integrity of her search.” — Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker
 
“The writing is that of a true storyteller who will not stop until she has bored down to the bottom of where she came from, and in this she is at her narrative best.” — Oprah Magazine
 
“As compulsively readable as a mystery novel, while exploring the deeper mysteries of identity and family and truth itself... a story told with great insight and honesty and heart.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“A meditation on what it means to live in a time when secrecy, anonymity, and mystery are vanishing.”  The New Yorker
 
“Shapiro is skilled at spinning her personal explorations into narrative gold.” — NPR
 
“[A] swift moving narrative of profound personal disorientation. Just as you think you’ve crested the big reveal, Shapiro builds more tension, chapter by short chapter; she keeps you close as she feels her way through unfamiliar terrain.” — Newsday
 
Inheritance zooms in on the blind spots that result when reproductive technology outpaces an understanding of its consequences. In viewing this important and timely topic through a highly personal lens, Inheritance succeeds admirably.” — The Seattle Times
 
Inheritance offers a thought-provoking look at the shifting landscape of identity.” — The Washington Post
 
“[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.” — Bookforum
 
“Inheritance is dedicated “to my father”. That [Shapiro] doesn’t say which one speaks volumes: those who like to insist that blood is always thicker than water should read her book, and let their own hearts slowly and gently expand.” The Guardian
 
“Shapiro [writes]... this spare, lyrical story shattering the polished portrait of her life and piecing the fragments carefully, gorgeously back together.”  —Vulture
 
Inheritance explores Shapiro’s identity in relationship to her memory, family history, biology, and experience. And it essentially asks the question: What makes us who we are? It’s brilliant.” — Goop
 
“Smart, psychologically astute, and not afraid to tell it like it is.” — USA Today
 
“A poignant examination of identity and what happens when one''s wholeness and understanding of who they are is completely uprooted.” — Marie Claire
 
“It''s a cautionary tale about a brave new world of technology that erases privacy, and a story about one of the oldest themes of human narrative: finding oneself.” — Miami Herald
 
“Written with generosity and honesty,  Inheritance takes the modern phenomenon of casual DNA testing and builds a deeply personal narrative around it. The result is a vital, necessary read from a talented author.” — Paste Magazine
 
"A remarkable, dogged, emotional journey...  Inheritance reads like a mystery, unfolding minute by minute and day by day.... 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."  Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Shapiro [writes] this spare, lyrical story shattering the polished portrait of her life and piecing the fragments carefully, gorgeously back together.” — Bitch Magazine
 
“A fascinating, pertinent look into the murky world of medical ethics, as well as the kind of profound, insightful look into the meaning of love and connection that we’ve come to expect from Shapiro.” — Nylon
 
“A remarkable, dogged, emotional journey as Shapiro digs into the past to find the truth.” — Boston Herald
 
Inheritance reads like an introspective mystery as Shapiro sorts facts from fiction.” — Elle
 
“In  Inheritance, Shapiro movingly reckons with identity and family secrets.” — Real Simple
 

Inheritance adds significantly to Shapiro’s body of work while plugging into some of our culture’s most pressing concerns—identity, technology and medical ethics, among others. Although her story is unique to her, it offers a way of thinking about our changing, uncertain times.” — The Florida Times Union
 
Inheritance is both thrilling and fascinating—a nonfiction book that reads like a novel.” — Pop Sugar
 
“Shapiro unpacks a beautiful and heartbreaking narrative of paternity, genetics, and family.” — Lit Hub

"Fascinating... With thoughtful candor, [Shapiro] explores the ethical questions surrounding sperm donation, the consequences of DNA testing, and the emotional impact of having an uprooted religious and ethnic identity. This beautifully written, thought-provoking genealogical mystery will captivate readers from the very first pages." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"For all the trauma that the discovery put her through, Shapiro recognizes that what she had experienced was ''a great story''—one that has inspired her best book." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Page after page, Shapiro displays adisarming honesty and an acute desire to know the unknowable." — Booklist (starred review)
 
“As Shapiro deftly navigates the emotional story of her own origins, she also spins her grief, shock, and introspection into a compelling narrative that you won’t be able to put down.” — Book Riot“[Shapiro’s] magnificent journey of selfhood, arduous and awakening, makes our communal reflection in the mirror deeper and continually delving.” — Jamie Lee Curtis
 
Inheritance is Dani Shapiro at her best: a gripping genetic detective story, and a meditation on the meaning of parenthood and family.” — Jennifer Egan
 
“Reads like a beautiful, lived novel, moving and personal and true.” — Meg Wolitzer
 
“A compulsively-readable investigation into selfhood that burrows to the heart of what it means to accept, to love, and to belong.” — Anthony Doerr
 
“In her searing story, Dani Shapiro makes the most disquieting discovery: that everything, from her lineage, to her father, down to her very own sense of self is an astounding error.... The answer is not disquieting. It is beautiful.” — Andre Aciman
 
“An extraordinary memoir that speaks to themes as current as today’s headlines and as old as human history.... This beautifully crafted book is full of wisdom and heart, showing that what we don’t know about our parents may not be as important as what we do.” — Will Schwalbe

About the Author

DANI SHAPIRO is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Inheritance, as well as  Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Also an essayist and a journalist, Shapiro''s short fiction, essays, and journalistic pieces have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, the op-ed pages of the New York Times, and many other publications. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, the New School, and Wesleyan University; she is cofounder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. Shapiro is the host of the hit podcast, Family Secrets. She lives with her family in Litchfield County, Connecticut.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Excerpted from Inheritance

Chapter 1

When I was a girl I would sneak down the hall late at night once my parents were asleep. I would lock myself in the bathroom, climb onto the Formica counter, and get as close as possible to the mirror until I was nose to nose with my own reflection. This wasn’t an exercise in the simple self-absorption of child­hood. The stakes felt high. Who knows how long I kneeled there, staring into my own eyes. I was looking for something I couldn’t possibly have articulated—but I always knew it when I saw it. If I waited long enough, my face would begin to morph. I was eight, ten, thirteen. Cheeks, eyes, chin, and forehead—my features softened and shape-shifted until finally I was able to see another face, a different face, what seemed to me a truer face just beneath my own.



Now it is early morning and I’m in a small hotel bathroom three thousand miles from home. I’m fifty-four years old, and it’s a long time since I was that girl. But here I am again, staring and staring at my reflection. A stranger stares back at me.

The coordinates: I’m in San Francisco—Japantown, to be precise—just off a long flight. The facts: I’m a woman, a wife, a mother, a writer, a teacher. I’m a daughter. I blink. The stranger in the mirror blinks too. A daughter. Over the course of a single day and night, the familiar has vanished. Familiar: belonging to a family. On the other side of the thin wall I hear my husband crack open a newspaper. The floor seems to sway. Or perhaps it’s my body trembling. I don’t know what a nervous break­down would feel like, but I wonder if I’m having one. I trace my fingers across the planes of my cheekbones, down my neck, across my clavicle, as if to be certain I still exist. I’m hit by a wave of dizziness and grip the bathroom counter. In the weeks and months to come, I will become well acquainted with this sensation. It will come over me on street corners and curbs, in airports, train stations. I’ll take it as a sign to slow down. Take a breath. Feel the fact of my own body. You’re still you, I tell myself, again and again and again.



Chapter 2

Twenty-four hours earlier, I was in my home office trying to get organized for a trip to the West Coast when I heard Michael’s feet pounding up the stairs. It was ten-thirty in the evening, and we had to leave before dawn to get to the Hartford airport for an early flight. I had made a packing list. I’m a list maker, and there were a million things to do. Bras. Panties. Jeans skirt. Striped top. Sweater/jacket? (Check weather in SF.) I was good at reading the sound of my husband’s footsteps. These sounded urgent, though I couldn’t tell whether they were good urgent or bad urgent. Whatever it was, we didn’t have time for it. Skin stuff. Brush/comb. Headphones. He burst through my office door, open laptop in hand.

“Susie sent her results,” he said.

Susie was my much-older half sister, my father’s daughter from an early marriage. We weren’t close, and hadn’t spoken in a couple of years, but I had recently written to ask if she had ever done genetic testing. It was the kind of thing I had never even considered, but I had recalled Susie once mentioning that she wanted to know if she was at risk for any hereditary dis­eases. A New York City psychoanalyst, she had always been on the cutting edge of all things medical. My email had reached her at the TED conference in Banff. She had written back right away that she had indeed done genetic testing and would look to see if she had her results with her on her computer.

Our father had died in a car accident many years earlier, when I was twenty-three, and Susie thirty-eight. Through him, we were part of a large Orthodox Jewish clan. It was a family history I was proud of and I loved. Our grandfather had been a founder of Lincoln Square Synagogue, one of the country’s most respected Orthodox institutions. Our uncle had been president of the Orthodox Union. Our grandparents had been pillars of the observant Jewish community both in America and in Israel. Though as a grown woman I was not remotely religious, I had a powerful, nearly romantic sense of my family and its past.



The previous winter, Michael had become curious about his own origins. He knew far less about the generations preceding him than I did about mine. His mother had Alzheimer’s and recently had fallen and broken her hip. The combination of her injury and memory loss had precipitated a steep and rapid decline. His father was frail but mentally sharp. Michael’s sudden interest in genealogy was surprising to me, but I understood it. He was hoping to learn more about his ancestral roots while his dad was still around. Perhaps he’d even enlarge his sense of family by connecting to third or fourth cousins. Do you want to do it too? he might have asked. I’m sending away for a kit. It’s only like a hundred bucks. Though I no longer remember the exact moment, it is in fact the small, the undramatic, the banal—the yeah, sure that could just as easily have been a shrug and a no thanks.

The kits arrived and sat on our kitchen counter for days, perhaps weeks, unopened. They became part of the scenery, like the books and magazines that pile up until we cart them off to our local library. We made coffee in the mornings, poured juice, scrambled eggs. We ate dinner at the kitchen table. We fed the dog, wrote notes and grocery shopping lists on the blackboard. We sorted mail, took out the recycling. All the while the kits remained sealed in their green and white boxes decorated with a whimsical line drawing of a three-leaf clo­ver. ANCESTRY: THE DNA TEST THAT TELLS A MORE COMPLETE STORY OF YOU.

Finally one night, Michael opened the two packages and handed me a small plastic vial.

“Spit,” he said.

I felt vaguely ridiculous and undignified as I bent over the vial. Why was I even doing this? I idly wondered if my results would be affected by the lamb chops I had just eaten, or the glass of wine, or residue from my lipstick. Once I had reached the line demarking the proper amount of saliva, I went back to clearing the dinner dishes. Michael wrapped a label around each of our vials and placed them in the packaging sent by Ancestry.com.

Two months passed, and I gave little thought to my DNA test. I was deep into revisions of my new book. Our son had just begun looking at colleges. Michael was working on a film project. I had all but forgotten about it until one day an email containing my results appeared. We were puzzled by some of the findings. I say puzzled—a gentle word—because this is how it felt to me. According to Ancestry, my DNA was 52 percent Eastern European Ashkenazi. The rest was a smattering of French, Irish, English, and German. Odd, but I had nothing to compare it with. I wasn’t disturbed. I wasn’t confused, even though that percentage seemed very low considering that all my ancestors were Jews from Eastern Europe. I put the results aside and figured there must be a reasonable explanation tied up in migrations and conflicts many generations before me. Such was my certainty that I knew exactly where I came from.



In a cabinet beneath our television, I keep several copies of a documentary about prewar shtetl life in Poland, called Image Before My Eyes. The film includes archival footage taken by my grandfather during a 1931 visit to Horodok, the family village. By then the owner of a successful fabric mill, he brought my great-grandfather with him. The film is all the more powerful for the present-day viewer’s knowledge of what will soon befall the men with their double beards, the women in modest black, the children crowding the American visitors. Someone—my grandfather?—holds the shaky camera as the doomed villagers dance around him in a widening circle. Then we cut to a quieter moment: in grainy black and white, my grandfather and great- grandfather pray at the grave of my great-great grandfather. I can almost make out the cadence of their voices—voices I have never heard but that are the music of my bones—as they recite the Mourner’s Kaddish. My grandfather wipes tears from his eyes.

In the year before my son’s bar mitzvah, I played him that part of the documentary. Do you see? I paused on the image of the rough old stone carved in Hebrew. This is where we come from. That’s the spot where your great-great-great grandfather-is buried. It felt urgently important to me, to make Jacob aware of his ancestral lineage, the patch of earth from which he sprang, the source of a spirit passed down, a connection. Of course, that tombstone would have been plowed under just a few years later. But in that moment—my people captured for all time—I was linking them to my own boy, and him to them. He hadn’t known my father, but at least I was able to give Jacob some­thing formative that I myself had grown up with: a sense of grounding in coming from this family. He is the only child of an only child, but this—this was a vast and abundant part of his heritage that could never be taken away from him. We watched as the men on the screen swayed back and forth in a familiar rhythm, a dance I have known all my life.



So that 52 percent breakdown was just kind of weird, that’s all, as bland and innocuous as those sealed green and white boxes had been. I thought I’d clear it up by comparing my DNA results with Susie’s. Now, on the eve of our trip to the West Coast, Michael was sitting next to me on the small, tapestry-covered chaise in the corner of my office. I felt his leg pressed against mine as, side by side, we looked down at his laptop screen. Later he will tell me he already knew what I couldn’t allow myself even to begin to consider. On the wall directly behind us hung a black-and-white portrait of my paternal grandmother, her hair parted in the center, pulled back tightly, her gaze direct and serene.

Comparing Kit M440247 and A765211:
 
Largest segment = 14.9 cM
Total of segments > 7cM = 29.6 cM
Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 4.5
653629 SNP’s used for this comparison
Comparison took 0.04538 seconds.

“What does it mean?” My voice sounded strange to my own ears.

“You’re not sisters.”

“Not half sisters?”

“No kind of sisters.”

“How do you know?”

Michael traced the line estimating the number of generations to our most recent common ancestor.

“Here.”

The numbers, symbols, unfamiliar terms on the screen were a language I didn’t understand. It had taken 0.04538 seconds—a fraction of a second—to upend my life. There would now forever be a before. The innocence of a packing list. The preparation for a simple trip. The portrait of my grandmother in its gilded frame. My mind began to spin with calculations. If Susie was not my half sister— no kind of sister—it could mean only one of two things: either my father was not her father or my father was not my father.

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4.3 out of 54.3 out of 5
2,489 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

D. Ollero
1.0 out of 5 stars
Too much whining
Reviewed in the United States on January 17, 2019
I tried to like this book, I really did. I cannot stand how the author likens her situation to those suffering trauma. 1) your mother did not have an affair and not tell the person she was pregnant, 2) your mother didn''t get pregnant by another man and make believe it was... See more
I tried to like this book, I really did. I cannot stand how the author likens her situation to those suffering trauma. 1) your mother did not have an affair and not tell the person she was pregnant, 2) your mother didn''t get pregnant by another man and make believe it was your fathers 3) you were not abandoned or adopted 4) two adults made a conscious decision to have fertility treatments and then raised you as their child (which you were) and loved you. 5) Why would you be mad at a total stranger for not wanting to meet you and let you invade his life. 6) you should be happy that this person was generous enough to donate his sperm so your parents could have a family, so you could have life and in turn, your son. It''s shocking, yes...but the idea that after 54 years you were afraid your family would abandon you or your friends would treat you differently is absurd.
663 people found this helpful
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S. Macklin
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Anger-inducing.
Reviewed in the United States on February 8, 2019
Dani Shapiro is an excellent writer, but Inread this book with a growing sense of frustration and anger. Even after she seemed to reach the conclusion that neither of her parents knew that there was a possibility that her father was a donor, she still obsessed about it... See more
Dani Shapiro is an excellent writer, but Inread this book with a growing sense of frustration and anger. Even after she seemed to reach the conclusion that neither of her parents knew that there was a possibility that her father was a donor, she still obsessed about it through the rest of the book. The real “culprits”, if they have to be named, are the couple who ran the institute in Philadelphia.

I think Ms. Shapiro comes off as way too self-indulgent and absorbed. She should try to enjoy her life and stop looking at the past.
158 people found this helpful
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M Arneson
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Mixed feelings all around
Reviewed in the United States on January 15, 2019
As a medical student in the 1970s, I had classmates who picked up a little extra money by anonymously donating sperm for artificial insemination. The practice was normal by that point, moving away from the deep secrecy that shadowed Dani Shapiro''s conception and childhood.... See more
As a medical student in the 1970s, I had classmates who picked up a little extra money by anonymously donating sperm for artificial insemination. The practice was normal by that point, moving away from the deep secrecy that shadowed Dani Shapiro''s conception and childhood. Her reactions to the discovery of her concealed paternity and her search for meaning struck me as off-topic in what I''d expected to be a book about unraveling the mystery of her origins in a much more concrete way. That part was so quick and easy -- not the detective story I had anticipated. The rest was still a tale of mystery, but on a psycho-social plane. Who lied? Why? Who suspected the truth? How could Dani have ignored the hints? What does it mean to lose an identity that is tied to a false genealogy? How should an anonymous sperm donor react to being unmasked by DNA?

Extensive introspection wasn''t what I thought I had signed up for when I bought this book, but it turned out to be fascinating enough that I read it in one sitting.
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carilynp
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Beautifully written and truly profound
Reviewed in the United States on January 18, 2019
After finishing the last page of Dani Shapiro’s INHERITANCE: A MEMOIR OF GENEALOGY, PATERNITY, AND LOVE, I wanted to take time to absorb what I had read. I’ve read and loved all her memoirs and I feel like this is her most stunning. The subject seems to be the most... See more
After finishing the last page of Dani Shapiro’s INHERITANCE: A MEMOIR OF GENEALOGY, PATERNITY, AND LOVE, I wanted to take time to absorb what I had read. I’ve read and loved all her memoirs and I feel like this is her most stunning. The subject seems to be the most challenging, as far as a discovery and the path that it lead her on, the way in which she went about trying to find out what she needed to learn both about her subject and herself in order to write the book, and then, what she comes to understand about who she is in the process. Dani digs deep, as she always does in her books. Her writing, eloquent, as always, is also moving, has a conversational tone at times, open, easy. I was taken with her words. I felt them. Mostly her references to her childhood memories, and the Hebrew and religious moments that brought her back to her father. Not, that he ever left her.

Dani discovers, almost by accident, after her half-sister, mentions that she might want to take a DNA test, that their father is not her biological father. She is 54 when she learns this news. Looking back, there have been numerous hints over the course of her life, that she never pursued, that indicated that this might have been the case, but she never had reason to explore or question if her father was indeed her biological father. After all, she loved him. And, this is not something that occurs to most people. Even if she felt that she didn’t belong, in the sense of feeling different or looking different, her father was her person and her family, her people.

What she pieces together, along with the help of her husband, other members of her remaining extended family, and elderly friends of her long-deceased father, is remarkable.
I cried so often over the course of reading the book. For Dani''s memory and what it would become or how it would be altered and for her love of a man who seemed bigger than life both during the time that he was alive and long after he died. For her caring, loving, and insightful elderly aunt who summed up Dani’s existence and place in their family with words that any person, lost or otherwise, deserves to hear and her display of true love that I hope envelop her for the rest of her years. For the miracle of science and social media, despite its weaknesses, how it can bring people together in ways we could never have imagined.

INHERITANCE is the experience of family dynamics, medical ethics, the culture of Orthodox Judaism, the wonder of memory, and complicated grief.
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RJM
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Relatable
Reviewed in the United States on January 18, 2019
As someone who discovered thru my Ancestry DNA test close to age 40 that I was the product of artificial insemination, this story indeed struck a chord with me. Contrary to one of the comments above about there not being secrecy in the 1970s, there was indeed secrecy well... See more
As someone who discovered thru my Ancestry DNA test close to age 40 that I was the product of artificial insemination, this story indeed struck a chord with me. Contrary to one of the comments above about there not being secrecy in the 1970s, there was indeed secrecy well into the 1980s regarding the use of donor sperm from med students/residents and the practice of artificial insemination. There are no records available to many donor-conceived adults conceived thru the late 1980s. Recipient parents were told that secrecy was of the utmost importance and never to tell the children conceived this way. It astounds me that so little thought was going into a practice that was creating human beings. Dani eloquently writes about feelings and deeply personal reflections that I myself have felt. Please remember that donor-conceived people are people with feelings and it is a basic human right to want to know where you came from. We did not ask to be created this way. If you know someone who is donor conceived or you yourself are, I highly recommend this book!
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jg67
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
meh...
Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2019
This book was much more about her feelings than the mystery/discovery. I should have known as it is sold as a memoir. I finished it but would not recommend it.
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Susie Y.
1.0 out of 5 stars
Self-Absorbed, Selfish, Whiner - YOU HAD AMAZING PARENTS, GET OVER YOUR OBSESSION WITH DNA
Reviewed in the United States on March 14, 2019
Dani Shapiro''s self-obsession and her non-stop navel-gazing - as evidenced in her endless memoirs - are indicative of a self-absorbed and selfish ethos of living. Get over yourself and look at the world around you! Her self-inflicted angst and obsession - fetishization! -... See more
Dani Shapiro''s self-obsession and her non-stop navel-gazing - as evidenced in her endless memoirs - are indicative of a self-absorbed and selfish ethos of living. Get over yourself and look at the world around you! Her self-inflicted angst and obsession - fetishization! - of DNA/sperm is a complete waste of time and energy. Who is a mother or father? It is the person who gets up in the middle of the night to feed you, changes your diapers, stays up in the middle of the night when you are sick, who soothes you to sleep, it''s the person who gives you an education, a roof over your head, who kisses your boo-boos, who invests an incredible amount of time and energy and money to take care of you. THAT is a mother or father, and she had both. There are so many people and children in this world who live with their "bio" dads and moms and who DON''T really have a mother or father because their parents don''t bother to love their children! I feel sorry for them! Not her! She had a great childhood - not perfect, nobody gets a perfect childhood, Dani, please get over it - and a fabulous education, one that very few are privileged to obtain. The fact that she spent years and put so much attention on a SPERM DONOR and his family - who have zero connection to her - is silly and incredibly self-absorbed. She even talks about an aunt who spent years loving her and all of a sudden she felt no connection to her aunt at all ... just because of DNA! That is so incredibly thoughtless and selfish.

I have friends who have adopted babies and children and they love their adopted children as their own, in fact, more than most biological parents do with their biological children. THAT should be celebrated and rewarded, not some sperm donor. Anyone can be a sperm donor, but not anyone can or bothers to be a mother or father.
105 people found this helpful
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Laura B.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fellow Donor Conceived Person Loves it!
Reviewed in the United States on January 21, 2019
As a fellow donor conceived person, I didn''t hesitate to commit myself to reading Dani''s book. Most of us DC individuals who discovered the truth later in life get something from seeking out the stories of others who walk in our shoes, possibly because of how "other" we... See more
As a fellow donor conceived person, I didn''t hesitate to commit myself to reading Dani''s book. Most of us DC individuals who discovered the truth later in life get something from seeking out the stories of others who walk in our shoes, possibly because of how "other" we have felt through the process of adjusting to the unexpected genetic news and how difficult it is for outsiders to empathize. As for the latter problem, just look at that negative review titled "Too much whining"...

Dani''s memoir doesn''t disappoint. She takes us through her experience step-by-step, interspersing story with thoughts, feelings, contemplations, memories, quotes, and Hebrew terminology as it applies. She is never heavy-handed in her analyses or overly academic, which makes for an easily digestible read. I''ve enjoyed listing all the relatable moments that matched with my own experiences, some of which were unncannily similar. Maybe I''ll get to share some of them with Dani face-to-face when I attend her book tour event in Darien, CT with my biological father and some of his family. This will be another landmark event in my newfound relationship with this wonderful, welcoming man - an experience that will likely be documented in my own future book which was inspired by Dani''s.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Dani!! Hopefully, our combined voices and actions will one day lead to a ban on donor anonymity so that no DC people are intentionally denied their full identities by even well-meaning parents (as they usually are).
60 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Emi Bevacqua
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Serial Memoirist
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 9, 2019
Dani Shapiro''s Inheritance is eminently readable, I finished it in a day. She is a good writer, in that everything flows and makes sense and I especially love this photo on the cover, that so perfectly illustrates the love she and her father shared and also how not at all...See more
Dani Shapiro''s Inheritance is eminently readable, I finished it in a day. She is a good writer, in that everything flows and makes sense and I especially love this photo on the cover, that so perfectly illustrates the love she and her father shared and also how not at all they resembled each other. However, I take issue with authors too young to write memoirs, and Shapiro at age 54 is on memoir number five. I think if I read her fiction, I''ll have nothing to complain about. But, since I read Inheritance for a book club discussion, I have notes. Granted, the shock of learning that one''s father isn''t really one''s father must be profound; and Shapiro does a brilliant job of (albeit dramatically) documenting the layers and elements of such an experience. But I took issue with the numerous mentions she makes of previous trauma she''s undergone (when her infant son nearly died of a rare disease, when her parents were in an eventually fatal accident) because they had already been written into previous memoirs. I''m not a fan of literary series, and would have rather waited to read one Shapiro memoir covering all these events, and not had to wade through so much repetition. Similarly, when I wondered to myself what the deal was between the writer and her mother, or if she has any contact with relatives on her mother''s side at all, or whether she''s taking her husband Michael Maren for granted, I had to shrug and assume she''d already covered those bits in previous works. As a mom of twin 11-year olds, I sussed her out immediately as being immature and self-centered as only a child can be with the repetition of "always" and "never," (every day somebody told her she doesn''t look Jewish, not a single day goes by I don''t think of my father, even under oath she claims to have never answered to her given name while admitting to us that''s not true). At one point Shapiro writes rather self-effacingly about herself, "as if I had been swept into someone''s novel - someone''s melodramatic novel - and I was playing a character rather than living my life" but no, my take on this author is that she is the writer of melodramatic memoirs, that she enjoys living a rather melodramatic life. She chronicles her shock and grief and trauma in a way that I find a bit oblivious or tasteless given the goings-on in this day and age. In Japan, mixed bloods like me are called "Haffu," in Hawaii we''re "Happa," but we are raised to be glass half-full and see ourselves as "Double" and "Both." It bothered me that Shapiro elaborates so about her negatives, when she''s not orphaned, plenty of fathers love children who aren''t theirs biologically, and it seems to me nobody took her Judaism away from her... but maybe I''m wrong and all this has been addressed in previous writings. I will never know, and I''m fine with that. And for anybody who believes Shapiro''s implying that no Jews look Aryan, read Blonde Poison, Mischling, Nowhere''s Child, and check out Hessy Taft.
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Clare Barry
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Beautiful and touching account of a family story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 30, 2019
Another beautiful memoir from Dani Shapiro who is a generous writer. She suffers an incredible shock and her account of what unfolds is tender and poignant. She explores what identity, genetics and belonging mean. She offers us an insight into both the ethics and choices of...See more
Another beautiful memoir from Dani Shapiro who is a generous writer. She suffers an incredible shock and her account of what unfolds is tender and poignant. She explores what identity, genetics and belonging mean. She offers us an insight into both the ethics and choices of past generations as well as the consequences decades later.
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Miss Gee
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 21, 2019
It could have told us so much about the early days of fertility treatment, others who went through that world, and many more things. Instead, this is for readers who want to hear her every little feeling, however neurotic, to the exclusion of most everything and everyone...See more
It could have told us so much about the early days of fertility treatment, others who went through that world, and many more things. Instead, this is for readers who want to hear her every little feeling, however neurotic, to the exclusion of most everything and everyone else. It should have been an article, and not just about her. Embarrassing.
2 people found this helpful
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C.Campbell
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Gripping detective story, existentially somewhat trite
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 26, 2019
This is the memoir of a 54 year old woman who accidentally discovers her father was not her biological father. The book works well at the level of detective story as she traces her biological father. At the philosophical level it’s remarkably trite, as we track the author’s...See more
This is the memoir of a 54 year old woman who accidentally discovers her father was not her biological father. The book works well at the level of detective story as she traces her biological father. At the philosophical level it’s remarkably trite, as we track the author’s agonised journey towards the predictable realisation that biology and genetics are not the ultimate determinants of identity and selfhood. Well worth reading nevertheless. The author is a great storyteller.
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Snue
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Trust your instincts
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 3, 2019
A fascinating story, told in delicate, affecting and precise prose. Dani''s story is bound to be repeated over and again now that people have easy access to DNA testing sites.
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Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale

Inheritance: popular A Memoir sale of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love online sale