Inheritance - Dani Shapiro


By Dani Shapiro

  • Release Date: 2019-01-15
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4
From 368 Ratings



“A gripping genetic detective story, and a meditation on the meaning of parenthood and family.” —Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach 

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.


  • 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.