Inheritance : a Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

Dani Shapiro
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About This Book


November 1, 2018

*Starred Review* Imagine finding out, after 54 years, that your father is not your father. He may be the man who raised you and helped forge your identity by immersing you in his culture in Shapiro's case, that of an Orthodox Jewish heritage that can be traced back for generations. He may be the one you turned to for emotional support through a confusing adolescence and confounding adulthood. But, as the modern technology of DNA tests confirm, he is not the man who actually sired you. For Shapiro, who adored her father and embraced her Jewish heritage proudly, the results were psychologically devastating and, as an acclaimed memoirist, too astonishing not to pursue. If I'm not my father's daughter, then who am I? With lightning speed and relentless determination, Shapiro tracks down the sperm donor who was her biological father and navigates an emotional and ethical minefield to create a relationship. The notion of identity, once so defined, suddenly becomes amorphous and untrustworthy. Shapiro's anguish over a flawed past is palpable; her anxiety regarding an indeterminate future is paralyzing. Page after page, Shapiro displays a disarming honesty and an acute desire to know the unknowable.