Updated: Sep 22, 2022
By Dani Shapiro
Dani Shapiro’s memoir, Inheritance, is an eloquent, raw telling of the crazy experience and aftermath of finding out her father was not her biological dad. Thanks to the fluke search a relative did on ancestry.com, Shapiro accidentally found out that she was not a blood relation. And within 36 hours of this surreal discovery, with the help of the internet, she identified who her biological father was.
What follows in this beautifully written memoir is a heart-wrenching soul-search that crosses terrains like what identity is, the corrosive nature of secrets, how in hindsight she saw that she’d ignored clues pointing to her “otherness” in the family. I so loved Shapiro’s candor and intensity.
To me, the sign of an excellent writer is how much the narrative becomes mine. I found myself weighing the questions she raises—like nurture vs. nature, the feeling of otherness, the importance of truth— rattling my own assumptions of identity. Shapiro is poetic, personal, open, talented.