Inheritance - Dani Shapiro


By Dani Shapiro

  • Release Date: 2019-01-15
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4
From 536 Ratings




A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR according to Elle, Real Simple, and Kirkus Reviews

“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—“a writer of rare talent” (Cheryl Strayed)— 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.

What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?
     In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history--the life she had lived--crumbled beneath her.
Inheritance is a book about secrets--secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman's urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. 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.



  • Inheritance

    By FLbluey
    As an adoptive parent I found Dani Shapiro’s memoir fascinating. She is a gifted storyteller and through her words unlocks a world which I thought I had known. I’m still thinking about her story. It will be with me for a long time.
  • Mean

    By Mother to 4- Grandmother to 9
    The low rating only reflects an uncomfortable feeling regarding what feels to me like a hateful and - perhaps- jealous portrayal of her Mother- and then a slightly -ever so slightly-demeaning of Pilar. Passive aggressive?
  • Only The Sample

    By amy-re
    I’ve only read the sample and I really want and really liked it.
  • Inheritance

    By Limmon 85
    Wow, there is so much going on here. Not only does the author let us in on her very personal journey to discover her true “family”, she shows us the pain and vulnerability that precedes it. Big BIG questions about identity and ethics and the future (and past) of the medical practices we are beginning to take for granted today - things that were unheard of (or at least not discussed) 50 years ago. For me, though, just as important is the theme of secrets and what that does to a family and to the individual as they build their life. Really enjoyed this book and it brought up a lot of questions in my own life.